Redbridge Council shuts unlawful accomodation

Enforcement action by Redbridge Council closes 93 beds in sheds

Redbridge Council has taken action to shut down 93 outbuildings that were being used as unlawful residential accommodation as part of a tough clampdown on ‘beds in sheds’.

In many cases, investigations revealed that the outbuildings didn’t comply with housing safety standards or planning policy.

The council say that they are working hard to stop the unlawful use of outbuildings which are often set up by rogue landlords who trap vulnerable people in dangerous living conditions. The developments can also become a nuisance to people living nearby and often present a fire hazard to the occupants.

As part of a joint operation led by the Planning Enforcement and Housing Standards Teams, the council have investigated 454 suspected illegal outbuildings leading to:

  • 5 landlords prosecuted for offences relating to occupied outbuildings with court fines and costs totalling £62,065.
  • 63 Housing Prohibition Orders served on outbuildings to close them down as they did not meet housing standards.
  • 30 Planning Enforcement Notices served on outbuildings which did not comply with planning policy and standards for residential properties.
  • 73 potential or suspected unlawful outbuildings dealt with through voluntarily changes or closure.

No action was required for the remaining cases that were investigated.

In April 2013, Redbridge was one of just four councils in England to receive £108,000 extra Government funding to support the on-going efforts to tackle the problem of illegal and unsuitable ‘beds in sheds’ accommodation.

Councillor Helen Coomb, Cabinet Member for Economy, Regeneration and Planning, said,

“Beds in sheds are completely unacceptable and we are determined to rid them from our Borough. They are often unsafe and rented to vulnerable people by greedy landlords who are more interested in profit rather than their basic responsibilities.

“Our blitz on beds in sheds sends out a loud and clear message to all those who build or let out unauthorised outbuildings – they will not be tolerated and we will take action.”

Redbridge Council are continuing to investigate all suspected illegal outhouses and will take firm action whenever appropriate. Residents in Redbridge who suspect the unlawful residential use of an outbuilding can report it on the Council’s website.

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