Inventory clerk sent to beds in shed property
Thursday 9th August 2012
When inventory expert Pat Barber went to a property in Reading, Berkshire, for the first time, she was shocked to find it was a ‘beds in shed’ that had been rented out via a lettings agent.
The garage was at the rear of a terrace property. The door was concealed from view and the front of the unit still looked exactly like a garage.
Unsure as to whether it really could be property due for inspection, Barber – who is chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks – put in a call to the agent.
Barber said: “This confirmed that this was indeed the living quarters of some poor soul.
“The landlord was obviously trying to avoid planning laws and make some extra money. Possibly the letting agent had turned a blind eye to this in search of the usual commission.”
The story surfaced, not naming the inventory clerk, through a press release from AIIC on the growth of beds in sheds.
LAT checked its veracity, wondering how feasible it was that a landlord trying to get away with an illegal rental property would want an inventory clerk inspecting it.
To our astonishment, Barber said the clerk was herself and could totally vouch for the veracity of the story.
Had she reported the property to the local council? She said that she had not, as it was not her place.
She added: “If the letting agent has gone through the usual checks about electrical and gas safety, planning permission issues are not within my remit. If there was anything dangerous in there I would certainly have reported it.
“If a prospective tenant had viewed this before signing the agreement – which they obviously had – the let must have been covered by an AST, etc, and hence the need for a proper inventory.”
But she added: “It is a scandal that these back garden slums exist to exploit people who are trapped into paying extortionate rents to live in extremely cramped conditions. Criminal landlords are trapping vulnerable people in suburban shanty-towns.”
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