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Couple ordered to demolish 'beds in sheds'

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Couple ordered to demolish 'beds in sheds'

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Housing, Legal

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A couple have been ordered by a tribunal to demolish two 'beds in sheds' they rented out illegally.

Hillingdon Council took action against Rajwant Singh and Gurbax Kaur after discovering the pair had been renting out the main building at 179 Coldharbour Lane, Hayes to more than seven people without licensing the property as a house of multiple occupation (HMO), and were leasing two illegal outbuildings in the garden as accommodation.

The council became one of the first local authorities in London to use powers under the Housing Act 2004 to serve demolition orders on the outbuildings in October last year.

Singh and Kaur challenged the orders at the HM Courts and Tribunal Service Resident Property Tribunal. But last month the tribunal supported the council and confirmed that demolition was the right course of action.

The offenders now have until May to demolish the outbuildings. If they fail to do so, the council will take direct action to remove the properties and charge the couple for the cost, as well as considering further prosecutions and fines.

Singh and Kaur were told by the council in 2009 that they were not allowed to rent out two outbuildings, a wooden shed and brick structure, for accommodation.

However, a dawn raid by housing and planning enforcement teams, the UK Border Agency and the Metropolitan Police in August 2013 found that they had not followed the rules.

During the raid, officers discovered that the outbuildings were cold, mouldy and with faulty gas and electric supplies. Neither the wooden shed nor the brick structure met the minimum standards required for human habitation.

Councillor Keith Burrows, cabinet member for planning, transportation and recycling, said: “Ordering landlords to demolish illegal outbuildings is one of many ways that our housing and planning enforcement teams continue to protect our local community by taking firm action against those who rent out accommodation that is not fit for purpose.

“The support of the tribunal demonstrates that our uncompromising approach to tackling beds in sheds is effective. I hope that our success in this case sends a strong message to other rogue landlords operating in our borough and beyond that they cannot get away with breaching housing and planning regulations.”

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