A landlord who let tenants sleep in an outbuilding in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex has been fined nearly £6,000.
Syed Junid Ul Hassan Shah was found guilty at Basildon Magistrates Court on 21 October of failing to comply with three prohibition orders and for a failure to licence the property at 53 Glenwood Avenue, Westcliff-on-Sea as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
The case dates back to July 2014 when the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council's planning enforcement department reported the property to the private sector housing team who subsequently visited the property.
After a site visit at the end of July 2014, four prohibition orders were served due to a number of deficiencies at the property, inadequate fire detection and the use of an outbuilding as a ‘bed in a shed’.
Shah claimed that repair work had been completed in November 2014, but a further site visit showed that minimal works had been completed inside the house and that the outbuilding was still in use as a room for sleeping.
Furthermore, the inside ground floor middle room was still being used as a bedroom and the second floor room had no fire detection and was being used as a bedroom. On this visit it was clear that there was additional evidence of further people living in the property than from the other visits.
On 27 November 2014 the council wrote to Shah requesting that he licence the property as a HMO, however Shah failed to respond.
Cllr David Norman, executive councillor for housing, said: “There is simply no excuse for this sort of behaviour and I am delighted that this landlord has been brought to book. No one should be living in conditions like this, where there is little if any regard for safety or the welfare of tenants.
“I am very concerned to see ‘beds in a shed’, and would urge anyone that is aware of any similar practises to report them to the planning enforcement and private sector housing teams immediately.
“I am pleased that a large fine has been issued and I hope this sends a strong message that the council will take action to protect tenants from being exploited in such a way.”
Just last week Landlord Today reported how councils are taking a tough stance on beds in sheds with Ealing Council destroying two outbuildings at one address in Southall.