“…Luxury air sprung floor”
Our first story comes to us from the London Borough of Newham and the friendly police service there.
Their official Twitter account posted the following on the 10th of August this year:
In comments made to the Daily Mirror, Inspector Phil Stinger (the same one who tweeted the picture, points out the stark reality behind such a seemingly ridiculous scenario:
“Multiple occupancy houses can generate increases in demand on both the police and local services as they often house a hidden population, many of whom are in the UK illegally.
“We carry out weekly joint visits to addresses and deal with properties that generate high levels of anti-social behaviour and crime, whilst targeting landlords who are taking advantage of their tenants."
4.5m2 I can call my own…
In December 2012, Surrey landlord Mohammed Sarwar was fined £2,500 for letting out a room that was just four and a half square metres in size. To put it into perspective, the average UK prison cell is five and a half square metres in size!
Environmental health officers had previously deemed the property unfit for letting out but in November of that year, the property was still being let out to tenants.
Reporting on this story, Get Surrey noted: “The 57-year-old was fined the maximum of £2,500, because he had made substantial profit from his actions, and was also ordered to pay court costs of £1,960 and a £15 victim surcharge.”
“Let me just crawl into bed…”
Sometimes it’s not the space that is ridiculously small – it’s getting into the space. Just ask the folks who were renting out this room in Hendon in August 2014. The landlord, Yaakov Marom, who had originally received a prohibition order by Barnet Council two years earlier in relation to the property, received a whopping £420 from a couple before being shut down.
Marom pleaded guilty to failing to comply to the prohibition at Willesden magistrates court and ordered to pay £3,040 in fines and court costs.
“A rabbit hutch”
That’s how this flat in the Islington area of London was described by inspectors who pulled it off the market in June of 2014.
The flat was marketed as a “modern studio apartment” but as local housing chief councillor James Murray noted (and even the picture makes obvious), you can’t even open the cupboards because of the bed.
Planning permission had been given for the block to serve as accommodation for students but the-once bedrooms were now individual flats in their own right which contravened the permission.
The landlord, Andrew Panayi, believed he was hard done by when the story was picked up by no less than The Guardian, commenting, "They didn't photograph the bathroom or the [communal] roof terrace." Looking at the flat, we’d be tempted to say that those really don’t make up for just how bad this is.
A step up from living in your car…
Our final stop on the tour takes us to south London and Brixton where a converted garage was put up for sale for £125,000 in July 2014.
An employee at estate agents Kinleigh Folkard and Hayward described the property as “a converted garage that is just about big enough to fit a single bed in” but within weeks of it being posted, there were several interested buyers with the only issue being getting a mortgage for such an unconventional property. According to The Guardian, one cash buyer offered £85,000 which was initially accepted before being rejected for being too low! Eventually the flat was taken off the market and offered for rent at the astounding amount of £700 a month.
At 110 square feet (10 square metres), it’s not quite a prison cell (the average UK prison cell is 5.5 square metres), but it would barely fit a single bed at 3 feet by 6 foot 3 inches and not much else!