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Council seizes control of HMO after landlord's "poor attitude"

Waltham Forest council has enforced an Interim Management Order on a house in its area meaning it will take over day-to-day management of the property because of what it claims is the landlord’s “complete refusal to operate responsibly.”

Council officers paid an early-morning visit to the property on Walthamstow last week to change the locks and tell tenants that it would now be acting as their landlord with immediate effect. 

All rent will now be paid to the council and legal notices have been sent to the owner to make him aware of this.

The council says it took the decision to implement the IMO at the property, a three-storey building previously licensed as an HMO. The licence was revoked in July 2015 due to poor living conditions and overcrowding. 

The authority says the owner made no effort to re-licence the property or improve conditions, and was subsequently prosecuted by the council earlier this year.

It claims a number of planning breaches still exist at the property, including the top floor which has been converted into a self-contained flat, and a large bed-in-shed in the back garden that was being occupied by four people.

The five separate units in the property are currently accommodating 16 people, including several young children. Despite two rooms in the property currently being empty, tenants in the property were paying total monthly rent in excess of £4,000. 

“Despite raking this in the owner has not paid council tax on the property since 2012, and is currently over £4,000 in arrears” says a statement from the authority.

The council has recorded details of the repairs and improvements required at the property, and will be revisiting the property with a contractor to confirm a price for carrying these out. This, along with any other management costs will be deducted from rent the authority received while it is acting as landlord.

The aim of implementing the IMO is to bring the property up to a good standard so that it can be re-licensed and controlled by a responsible agent. Although the council does not have a confirmed address for the owner, it says it hopes that he will not come forward to deal with the outstanding breaches and settle any debts.

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