Locked down residents in Slough forced to stay home all day are being asked to turn detective - looking out for families crammed into overcrowded and possibly illegal 'multiple occupancy' homes.

Houses of multiple occupation, know as HMOs, represent 3,000 properties in the borough and require the landlord to have a council issued licence. While many responsible landlords have been granted the licence, some have not even applied.

A council team has been working behind the scenes during the coronavirus public health crisis but as precautionary measures are relaxed will have more scope to get back out in the borough and investigate landlords managing unregulated homes.

Licences were brought in last year to raise the standards and safety of properties for some of the most vulnerable tenants and reduce anti-social behaviour sometimes associated with such properties.

Landlords are reminded they are legally required to have a licence for all HMOs in the borough and all rental properties in selective areas require licences.

Cllr Mohammed Nazir, cabinet member for housing and community safety, said: “During the lockdown with people at home during the day, they may have spotted a property where several families live in poor conditions.

“These are the people we want to help by getting their landlords to obtain licences which means there have been basic checks made to assess the standard is acceptable.

“In addition, unregulated homes can be at the centre of anti-social behaviour in neighbourhoods.”

Each HMO property of up to six rooms attracts a £450 licence fee plus a £300 enforcement fee. There is an additional charge of £30 per extra room after the initial six.

Rental properties within the designated area covering parts of Chalvey and Central wards will be subject to a charge £200 plus the £300 enforcement fee.

Licences can be applied for on http://www.slough.gov.uk/business/licences-and-permits/property-licensing.aspx and there is a map which shows which roads are included in the Selective Licensing Scheme.

Residents can report any suspected unlicensed property to the housing regulation team by emailing privatesectorhousing1@slough.gov.uk.