Hayes landlord ordered to stop using storage building as ‘cramped’ living space

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021 - Hillingdon Council

Hillingdon Council private landlord planning appeal 2021

A planning inspector has ordered a private landlord in Hayes to comply with enforcement notices issued by Hillingdon Council, after being found to be illegally renting two properties.

The enforcement notices were served in October 2020 at 15a and 15b Station Road after Hillingdon Council investigators found breaches of planning law at both addresses, which are owned by Tarsem Dhillon.

At 15a, small house of multiple occupancy (HMO) status has been given to the property to house six residents, but seven bedrooms were found, rendering it a ‘large HMO’. At 15b, a detached storage building at the rear of 15a, the property had been converted so that the first floor was residential premises housing eight bedrooms.

Mr Dhillon appealed the notices, but his appeals were dismissed on 15 October 2021, with some amended conditions, by an independent planning inspector.

Hillingdon Council received reports in June 2020 of bedding and kitchen equipment being moved into 15b. Initially, Mr Dhillon refused to let the council’s team into the property when they visited for an inspection.

However, when the London Fire Brigade were called to a fire at the site later that month, they found eight bedrooms, a kitchen and two bathrooms on the upper floor and issued a notice banning it from being used as residential property.

When 15a Station Road was inspected – also in June 2020 – it was found being used as an HMO, however those permissions limited it to six persons (small HMO). The council’s inspectors found seven bedrooms, in breach of the occupancy limit.

The enforcement notice for 15a required it no longer be used as a large HMO and be returned to use as a single-family home within three months. The planning inspector agreed with Mr Dhillon’s appeal claims that the notice was ‘excessive’ given it had been previously used lawfully as a small HMO. The inspector ruled the notice should be amended for it to revert back to that use and that the timescale for compliance should be six months.

At 15b, the enforcement notice served by the council required the first floor to no longer be used for residential purposes and all kitchen/bathroom facilities to be removed within three months. The planning inspector said all the bedrooms were smaller that required for good living standards, calling them ‘cramped and restricted’. He added that the home would probably add to already high levels of parking stress in local streets if residents had their own cars.

In this instance, the planning inspector disagreed with the appellant’s claim that the measures of the enforcement notice were excessive, but again agreed to extend the period from compliance from three to six months.

Cllr Eddie Lavery, Hillingdon Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Housing and Regeneration, said:

This is a brilliant result and reflects the undaunted efforts of our planning investigators.

Private renters in Hillingdon should rightfully expect to be housed in comfortable and safe accommodation. So we will always take the necessary action where landlords are flouting the rules, particularly if their actions could be putting lives at risk.

The London Fire Service clearly felt that 15b Station Road should never have been used as living accommodation and the planning inspector backed this up, stating that the floor space of each room, at around just six square metres, would not allow a comfortable standard of living – particularly with no outdoor amenity space.

I would encourage anyone who suspects a property of being used illegally, to let our planning enforcement team know so they can investigate.

Hillingdon Council inspectors will visit the site again at the end of the notice period to ensure compliance.

A free guide containing more information about property licensing and HMO planning rules in the London Borough of Hillingdon is available here.

For all the latest news and events, you can sign up for the free London Property Licensing newsletter here.