Converted garage

Let out: the converted garage in Brooke Road. Photograph: Hackney Council

A Clapton garage which was being let as a flat at a rent of more than £1,000 per month has been closed down by Hackney Council.

The brick building in Brooke Road flouted basic safety and planning rules – with one ‘wall’ in fact comprising wooden shutters previously used for car access.

It also lacked proper security, heating, and insulation.

When council officers visited the building they found two people living in the dangerous conditions.

The property, which had no planning permission and failed to meet building regulations, had been marketed as a one-room studio flat, despite having damp problems, no secure front door, a concrete floor and inadequate heating and kitchen facilities.

After helping the tenants to find somewhere else to live, the council issued a prohibition order to prevent the property being let as a flat, with the threat of criminal prosecution and an unlimited fine for the landlord if ignored.

Commenting on the situation, Cllr Philip Glanville, Deputy Mayor of Hackney, said: “Those who seek to exploit the demand for housing in Hackney to rake in cash through illegal conversions like this should not doubt that we will follow through on our warnings of enforcement action.

“This landlord had barely made any attempt to meet even the basic standards we expect, and we’ll continue to monitor this property to ensure it can’t be used again in this state.

“We will prosecute those who break the law when necessary and always press for the strongest penalties.”

Hackney Council is asking residents to sign a petition calling on the Government to modernise legislation to protect private tenants and make the system fairer, safer and cheaper for everyone.

Proposals include improving mandatory safety and quality standards, a public register of rogue landlords and the introduction of inflation-capped rents with longer tenancies.

To sign the ’10 Steps to Better Private Renting’ petition and for more information, visit http://www.hackney.gov.uk/10-steps

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