Almost £2m housing benefit payments received by one private landlord in Brent in the last year

Brent Council have paid �11.9m in housing benefit paments to its 20 top private landlords

Brent Council have paid �11.9m in housing benefit paments to its 20 top private landlords - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

One private company landlord in Brent received almost £2million in direct housing benefit payments in the last year.

The seven-figure sum was revealed following a Freedom Of Information request by the GMB union, but Brent Council refuse to name the recipient.

Data collected by the union also revealed a total of £11.9m in payments were sent directly to the borough’s top 20 private company landlords.

The union claims the payments are subsiding buy-to-let empires and should be used to build more social housing.

According to the figures, Brent has the fifth largest number of private tenants who claim housing benefit in London with 51.6 per cent of 33,181 households doing so.

Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said: “This research lifts the lid on the mainly secret payments to landlords who are the real winners from Britain’s welfare system.

“We see taxpayers cash subsidising buy-to-let empires where the money ends up tax free in tax havens. This is made possible by out of control rents and a lack of affordable and council homes that so many hard working people and their families desperately need.

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“These billions going into fat cats wallets and off shore tax havens would be better spent building houses and homes for real working people.”

Brent and Lewisham were the only two boroughs in London who refused to release any of the names of their top 20 company landlords.

Waltham Forest, Harrow, Southwark and Hackney named them all.

Mr Kenny added: “It is disgraceful that councils refused to reveal the companies they paid huge sums to.”

Nic Lane of Brent Housing Action, is calling for the council to reveal the names.

He said: “Having recognised that private renters have overtaken those in social housing in this borough - in no small part due to the council’s “regeneration” policy which has transferred housing stock to private landlords - it is disgraceful that Brent won’t release the names of those private landlords who profit the most from the current housing benefit system.”

Tower Hamlets paid the largest amount in London to one private landlord named as Zeta Home Ltd, an estate and letting agent who received £102.4m in direct housing benefit payments.

Brent Council failed to comment.