A home has become the first to be seized by Waltham Forest council, after inspectors made a string ofshocking discoveries, including four people living in a shed in the garden.
Officers paid an early-morning visit to the property on Overton Road yesterday (Thursday, October 13) and placed an Interim Management Order (IMO) on its landlord.
The council said the landlord had displayed “a complete refusal to operate responsibly” due to a number of longstanding issues which had not be rectified.
The three-storey building was previously licensed as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), however this was revoked in July 2015 due to poor living conditions and overcrowding.
The owner made did not re-licence the property or improve conditions, and was subsequently prosecuted by the Council earlier this year.
A number of planning breaches still exist at the property, including the top floor which has been converted into a self-contained flat.
Worse still, a large shed in the garden was being occupied by four people.
The five separate units in the property are accommodating 16 people, including several young children.
Despite two rooms in the property currently being empty, tenants in the property were paying total monthly rent in excess of £4,000.
Despite raking this in the owner has not paid Council Tax on the property since 2012, and is currently over £4,000 in arrears.
Cllr Khevyn Limbajee, 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.
“The majority of landlords operating in Waltham Forest are responsible, but we will not hesitate to take decisive action against the few who think they can get away with ignoring the law and putting their tenants at risk.”
An IMO allows the council to take over management of a property and act as a landlord to tenants in extreme circumstances.
Locks have been changed on the Overton Road property. All rent will now be paid to the Council and legal notices have been sent to the owner.
The aim of the IMO is to bring the property up to a good standard so that it can be re-licensed and controlled by a responsible agent.