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Nov 27 2013

Harrow Council Uncovers Bed-in-Shed Tenants Paying £165/week

harrow_council_logo2Council raid uncovers three ‘beds in sheds’ tenants paying £165 a week to share a single room.

An investigation by Harrow Council into ‘beds in sheds’ accommodation has uncovered a fresh example of the vast profits being made by landlords – with three tenants paying more than £160 a week to share a single room.
Offers found a semi-detached house in Waltham Drive, Harrow (pictured below), that had been sub divided to accommodate around 11 adults.

In one case, three mattresses were discovered in a single room with tenants apparently paying £55 a week to live there.

Other disturbing discoveries at the property included:

  • Mains appliances being run from a customised power source next to the light fitting in the ceiling
  • No smoke alarms
  • Rubbish left in sacks at the rear of the property

Harrow Council officers are now investigating the property for being an unlicensed house of multiple occupation (HMO) and for possible breaches of fire, electrical and gas safety regulations.

The council is now seeking to formally interview the landlord, who is understood to live in Bradford, under Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) conditions. Possible sanctions include a formal caution or prosecution. Any financial details obtained from the investigation will be passed on to the Department of Work and Pensions and other agencies.

Council leader Susan Hall said: “We appear to be seeing the resurrection of East End tenement overcrowding in suburban London with levels of exploitation to match.  Placing up three people in one room with little more than mattresses for décor , and charging £160 a week for, it sets a sorry new standard for rip-off Britain. This isn’t a victimless crime because the occupants of these beds in sheds lash-ups use council services, like rubbish collection, but the local authority doesn’t give us any grant for them – for the simple reason we don’t know they are there.”

beds_in_shedsHarrow Council is currently investigating around 100 cases of unlicensed houses of multiple occupation and recently visited on address in Courtney Avenue where they discovered a complete stand-alone building in the garden. Complete with washing and cooking facilities, tenants paid the landlord £850 a month to live there and claimed housing tax benefit.

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27 comments

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  1. j p hobbs

    Welcome to SLUM DOG HARROW . It can only get worse .

  2. Susan Hall

    No I do not and will not accept that comment, With the amount the Council and partners are now doing I am determined to make sure things get better, for too long this sort of situation has been ignored. By exposing these situations I hope more residents come forward and make us aware of what is happening in their streets. We have to work together to make a better environment for us all to live in. The Police, Fire Brigade and all Council Departments will work together to make a Cleaner and Safer Harrow which will benefit everyone. Lets talk Harrow up not down.

  3. j p hobbs

    Nice to hear that Susan that is what I was hoping to hear… but from a few others as well , I do believe you will do your best but there are others who need to get of their overpaid ifs and butts .

  4. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    ARE YOU ALL THICK (INC. PAUL) OR JUST PLAIN STUPID – THIS IS NOT A “BED-IN-A-SHED”. I HAVE ALREADY EXPLAINED WHAT A “BED-IN-A-SHED” IS, AND IT AIN’T AN HMO OK? SO STOP CALLING IT A “BED-IN-A-SHED” COZ NONE OF HAVE THE GUMPTION TO UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT. Honestly, such a level of thickness and stupidity FROM YOU ALL is quite incredible.

    1. Sarah

      Felt compelled to look up who ‘Willy Stoodley’ was and discovered that he claims to be bringing “Communication Skills (written and verbal)” to the role of Councillor. Shame he doesn’t bring those skills to his message board posts.

      1. Cllr Willy Stoodley

        You are entitled to your opinion, Sarah!

  5. Timeforchange

    Why do you have to be so incredibly rude and sanctimonious you don’t do your profession and your party any favours! Think we all get the general gist of this without you again having to spell it out and by the way good for Susan

    1. Cllr Willy Stoodley

      It wasn’t aimed at you – you hadn’t commented at that point therefore you’re not included.

  6. sonoo malkani

    As a long standing tax-payer this sort of disgraceful carry on must be robustly dealt with.I am not bothered about the NAME or SORT of offence.Surely the very fact that an OFFENCE is occuring basically affecting genuine tax-payers is bad enough!

    Name-calling or nasty comments should be directed at the perpetrators of the crime not those who are doing their best to address it.We need to get back to being respectful to one another —even if we see things differently.Anybody putting a stop to abuse of this kind should be commended not stoned!

    1. Cllr Willy Stoodley

      Exactly my point – NOTHING is being done about “Beds in Sheds”. But those who are doing something about HMOs which by the way have/has no effect on the taxpayer (other than the extra cost of the raids which personally I’m good with) are spinning their actions into incljding “Beds in Sheds” which it does not; that is dishonest. To prove this I shall ask a cabinet question as to how many HMOs have been busted and how many “Beds in Sheds” have been busted at the January Cabinet meeting, so come along to hear the answer if you’all really so genuinely concerned.

  7. j p hobbs

    Heah Guys do you think i touched a nerve whats that song ? !!!!! true colours . tut tut is that all you got to say on this serious matter .

  8. Concerned Harrovian

    Calling voters stupid is hardly a way to persuade people to vote for you in the May 2014 elections. I agree with the previous poster your anger should be directed at the Rachman type landlords.

    1. Cllr Willy Stoodley

      I didn’t call the VOTERS stupid; I called those who are claiming that busting unlicensed HMOs is curing “Beds in Sheds” stupid.

  9. j p hobbs

    May I ask why my comment is being held back I said nothing offensive or untoward .? not even bad language .

    1. j p hobbs

      Thank you for putting my comment back on .

  10. j p hobbs

    Well they sold or rented out the drop off lane at the front of Harrow and Wealdstone station now it looks like they are hiving off part of the rear car park to ASDA is it because its too expensive to park there ? more cameras will be the next thing to balance any losses . anyone of you bods in charge know whats going on if so can you tell the Joe public . please

    1. Cllr Willy Stoodley

      You may be right-why don’t you ask a public Cabinet Question of Cllr Steve Wrightt, p/f holder for property & major contracts? More fun than me finding out for you which I’m happy to do btw – email me the gen by all means.

  11. j p hobbs

    OH so no one has told you yet either …

  12. Patel

    Good to hear Harrow is doing something about it and well done Susan. When I reported this problem to Harrow planning office few years ago of my neighbours they did nothing as the people sleeping in the concrete shed were relying on the food and water from the main building but they have a working shower and toilet in the outbuilding. Now I see a boiler has also been fitted to the outbuilding. Surely that has become a self dependant seperate building. Where does one report this? To what department? Tel no? Email?

    1. Cllr Willy Stoodley

      Report it to me by all means.

  13. PraxisReform

    Like other commenters here, I welcome the Council’s move to crack down on Nicholas van Whatsisface style Landlords.

    However, the question that really intrigues me is: What was the fate of the poor souls paying £55p/w to sleep on a mattress in a supposed “shed”?

  14. j p hobbs

    There is a rumour they are in a cllrs shed now & £150 for the three .lol

  15. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    My comment clearly wdas not aimed at anyone who spoke AFTER I made it-it was aimed at Paul Boakes, Susan Hall and Bob Blackman who are trying to politically spin a success into something it has nothing to do do with-namely “Beds in Sheds”. It matters VERY MUCH INDEED that HMOs are understood to be TOTALLY DIFFERENT from “Beds in Sheds” because once 4 years pass there is NOTHING the Council can do about a “Bed in a Shed”. Pretending to cure the “Bed in a Shed” problem by busting unproperly licensed HMOS is grossly misleading and Paul, much as I like you, I have to say I am seriously disappointed at such misrepresentative reporting, which from the comments on this thread has clearly mislead your readers.

  16. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    And furthermore Paul, you’ve done it YET AGAIN in your last post! Bob Blackman did NOT ask a question about “Beds in Sheds” – he asked a question about HMOs. So change the title of your article please.

  17. PraxisReform

    Actually, I was asking in all seriousness…

    If Harrow Council gave a damn about the people living in the Borough, there would have been some mention in the story that those poor people forced to sleep on mattresses in someone’s overcrowded, substandard outbuilding had been found better accommodation by the Borough.

    Yet, none of the sixty-three Councillors (who arguably should be trumpeting a humanitarian achievement) or any of the however many people that work at the Council Offices can be bothered to say whether this actually happened or not!

    Was this situation only noted; and the people continued to pay £55p/w to sleep in the same terrble conditions?

    Or, perhaps they were just turned out onto the streets and made homeless, to become the first victims of the draconian new powers that Councils are demanding, in order to beat down the disadvantaged and keep them in the gutter?

    I think we need Crime Prevention Injunctions for Harrow’s Politicians.

    1. Cllr Willy Stoodley

      Praxis that is the double-edged sword of it all-bust them and the tenants can end up in worse conditions or even on the street homeless-I feel another Cabinet question coming on…

  18. PraxisReform

    I’m taking it that the lack of detail in the article, and the subsequent refusal to clarify, is meant to let us all assume that someone forced to live in these sorts of flop house conditions is an illegal immigrant rather than just someone down on their luck in a poorly paying job.

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