Council preparing to take action over 'beds in sheds' house owned by Ilford nursery boss
PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 July 2019
Council chiefs say they will take action against an unlicensed home where neighbours complain up to 15 people are living.
Neighbours allege that the house at 76 Wanstead Lane, Ilford, is being sub-let together with a caravan and stationary van in the back garden.
According to council records the property does not have a house in multiple occupation (HMO) licence, which is needed when more than three people who are not from the same family live in a home.
The owner of the house is Neelum Naqvi, the co-owner of Kiddikare Nursery in Mansfield Road, who has not responded to the Recorder's request for comment.
It is not known whether Mrs Naqvi was aware of what was happening at the property.
A council spokesman said: "We're serious and determined about improving standards in the private rented sector and have been investigating hundreds of suspected HMOs and unlicensed properties, including this one, to ensure tenants are living safely.
"We will be visiting again very soon with an enforcement notice so that we can gain access and find out if the property meets the strict standards required of an HMO.
"Landlords who are breaking the law should be aware we will take the strongest possible action against them as part of our continuing crackdown on rogue operators."
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When the Recorder visited the premises in June the lights were on inside the house and the caravan late at night. There was also a discarded suitcase outside the front door.
A painting and decorating company was registered at the premises in December 2018 under the name of a Romanian national, Smaranda Moore.
A neighbour, who asked not to be named, told the Recorder: "It's been in multiple occupancy for the whole of the building for at least six months.
"They all seem to be male. It was a four- to five-bedroom house before they put the caravan in. It bothers me, because I think it's an eyesore. The front drive is not usually occupied by the same vehicles and they all produce so much rubbish."
According to the Land Registry the property has been owned by Mrs Naqvi, who was a Labour Party candidate in the 2010 local elections, since 2008.
The council first granted permission for an extension to the property in 2009 and a shower room was constructed in 2013.
In 2017 a report by the Greater London Authority Conservative group estimated that there could be as many as 9,000 clandestine "beds in sheds"-type settings in the capital, potentially housing thousands of people.
At that time 86 such dwellings had been identified in Redbridge over the past five years, with the council wresting back £33,351 in unpaid council tax from landlords in that time.
London Assembly member Susan Hall said the practice was "a human issue with a human cost", adding: "This is not a practice we should be allowing in our city."