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Council seizes badly managed property

Stuart Spear26/10/2016 - 15:03

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The bed in shed in the back garden
The bed in shed in the back garden

In an unusual move a London council has used an interim management order (IMO) to take over day-to-day management of an overcrowded HMO due to the landlord’s ‘complete refusal to operate responsibly’.

Waltham Forest Council EHOs visited the property in the early morning to issue the IMO which included changing the locks and informing tenants that the council would be acting as the landlord with immediate effect.

The move has been described as a ‘last resort’ by the council having already revoked the property’s HMO licence and prosecuted the landlord earlier this year. 

The property, situated on Overton Rd, Walthamstow, had been split into five units as well as a self-contained top floor flat that lacked planning permission and a bed-in-shed in the back garden that housed four people. The property as a whole contained 16 people including several young children.

Despite two rooms in the property being currently unoccupied the landlord, Mustafa Demir, 42, was earning rent in excess of £4,000 a month. No council tax had been paid on the property since 2012 with arears now amounting to over £4,000.

Tenants were told that all rent would now be paid to the council while notices were sent to Demir making him aware of the legal action.

The move followed a long standing dispute with the landlord who has failed to rectify many outstanding issues linked to the property. The three-storey building has been licensed as an HMO but the licence had been revoked in July 2015 for non-compliance.

Despite being prosecuted in February this year with fines totalling over £10,000 the owner had made no effort to re-license the property or make improvements.

A council spokesperson said: ‘He was fined over £10,000 in fines and costs which went unpaid, however he has now made contact with the council and we are trying to sort something out so our actions do seem to be having the desired effect.’

The council has recorded all the repairs required to bring the property up to standard and will confirm a price to carry out these works. These, along with management costs, will be deducted from the rent.

Khevyn Limbajee, Waltham Forest cabinet member for housing said: ‘It’s obviously a last resort for us to have to take control of a property away from its owner, but we were given no choice due to this landlord’s poor attitude and lack of concern for the safety of his tenants.’

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