Please Note: This Article is 6 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

Midlands mega-landlord Jim Haliburton who styles himself as “HMO Daddy” has come up against Walsall Council’s planning committee in a dispute over planning permission required for HMO conversions.

Mr Haliburton, who owns mainly HMO properties in the Black Country, with around 150 properties containing 900 bed-sit rooms, has been served an enforcement order by the council to return two recent developments to their original state. The two properties involved are at 51 to 53 Wolverhampton Street in Willenhall and 16 Butts Road in St Matthew’s.

These properties were converted into 22 bed-sits between them and have been let to tenants by Mr Halliburton’s firm for over a year.   The council has now ordered the properties to be returned to their original state. This mean that the tenants will have to be given notice and will be forced to leave within two months, before the individual room conversions are ripped out.

Haliburton, known nationally as the “Bedsit king”, and who runs his lettings company J9 Accommodation, was defiant after admitted failing to get planning permission for the HMO conversions. The council claim he completely ignored the planning legislation, and including HMO management rules by failing to conduct fire risk assessments.

Mr Haliburton said he thought the planning process was “too time-consuming”, and:

“The only thing I’m guilty of is buying empty derelict buildings and turning them into low-cost valuable housing for working residents, which can only be good for the area.

“Applying for planning permission is a long process and very time-consuming but the quality of accommodation I provide is of the highest standard, going over and above fire safety procedures.”

The failure to follow the rules came to light when complaints were originally made about the two buildings in April last year. Since then, applications have been made to formally “change the use” but both have been turned down by the council.

Councillors Ian Shires and Sean Coughlan have criticised Mr Haliburton for not going through the correct planning procedures. Councillor Coughlan said:

“This has been going on for longer than it should. We wouldn’t have known about this issue if people hadn’t of contacted us. It’s not acceptable to simply not comply and ignore housing legislation. But personally, walking past the Wolverhampton Street site this week, the amount of rubbish outside was unbelievable.”

Mr Haliburton, who has appeared in several TV documentaries, specialises in buying rundown residential and commercial properties and converting them into multi-occupied properties mostly for low-income tenants.

So successful has ex law lecturer Mr Halliburton’s business become, that he runs highly regarded training courses under the moniker “HMO Daddy” to help other landlord investors run similar businesses.

Please Note: This Article is 6 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.


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