Yet another council is taking on special powers to control shared houses in multiple occupation (HMO).
Waltham Forest Council, in North East London, will impose an article 4 direction across the borough requiring landlords to apply for planning permission before they can convert a property in to an HMO.
The new rules take effect from September 16, 2014.
“It will give the council much greater control over what is happening to the housing stock in the borough,” explained the council’s deputy leader Councillor Clyde Loakes.
“Protecting the wellbeing of residents living in HMOs, and protecting the borough housing stock from being relentlessly carved up into HMOs, are issues the council is working increasingly hard to address.”
Meanwhile, a Walthamstow landlord who had an extension built on the back of a home he rented out without obtaining planning permission was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of almost £2,000 by Thames Magistrates Court.
Mohammed Arif, of Gainsford Road, Walthamstow, admitted converting a home at Goldsmith Road, Leyton, into two flats by adding a large rear extension without planning permission.
An enforcement notice was issued by the council in February 2012, ordering demolition of the extension.
Arif appealed the notice and lost, and he was ordered to comply with the enforcement notice by May 4, 2013.
Council officers visited the property on May 15, 2013 and found the house was no longer rented out as an HMO but no work had started on demolishing the extension.
Arif was taken back to court and has 28 days to pay the fines and costs and to demolish the extension.
Councillor Loakes said, “The council takes very seriously its role to protect the quality of housing in the borough and will track down landlords who think they can simply side-step the planning process.
“This is a very good example of a property that has not only been extended without permission, but also converted inappropriately into two households. Both courses of action have a significant impact on both the property in question and those around it. Such changes should only take place where it is justified and appropriate.”