'It's become a cesspit of druggies and drunks': Darlaston protest at 'HMO Daddy' letting agency

Nearly 100 people gathered outside a Darlaston letting agency to protest against the self-styled 'king of the bedsits', who they say is turning their area into a 'cesspit of druggies and drunks'.

Protesters gathered outside the J9 accommodation in Darlaston
Protesters gathered outside the J9 accommodation in Darlaston

Residents say tenants of J9 Accommodation properties are making their lives a misery, with some saying they fear leaving their homes due to the amount of anti-social behaviour in the area.

J9 owns and runs around 140 properties for 900 tenants in the Black Country and is run by magnate Jim Haliburton, who dubs himself the 'HMO Daddy'.

The title refers to his tactic of buying derelict buildings and converting them into five or six-bedroom homes known as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

But residents say rooms in the properties are being let out to drug addicts, alcoholics and people who have recently been released from prison.

The protesters say residents are making their lives a misery
The protesters say residents are making their lives a misery

Mr Haliburton has refuted the claims and insists he has done more than most to support the regeneration of Darlaston.

On Saturday, protesters stationed themselves outside the firm's head office in Pinfold Street demanding to speak with him.

The protest was organised via Facebook by Ryan Pressdee, aged 30, who lives in York Crescent. He said: "The situation has been getting gradually worse over the past five years and people have just about had enough.

"J9 owns a large number of properties and the vast majority of the rooms are being given to the worst types of people. We see people taking drugs in front of children and drunks arguing in the street.

"A lot of people are scared to come out of their houses. Police and ambulances are here all the time.

"It's become a cesspit of druggies and drunks. Mr Haliburton is getting filthy rich by housing scum. We want to sit down with him and talk to him about the tenants he is taking on and how they are destroying the area."

Mr Haliburton, a multi-millionaire who grew up in a children's home in Edinburgh, said: "As a landlord I get fed up of people accusing me of taking in druggies.

"It's not something I do. We want good tenants, not bad ones, but sometimes it is impossible to tell what people will be like. If someone comes in we can't always tell if they've been in prison or they are taking drugs.

"We work with the police and relevant authorities to do the checks necessary to find these things out. There are times when we have had to evict people, but the process can take over two months.

"For that you can blame the courts."

Mr Haliburton said he is willing to meet with protesters to discuss their grievances. "We're all on the same side," he added. "I will co-operate with anyone who wants to improve Darlaston."


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Comments for: "'It's become a cesspit of druggies and drunks': Darlaston protest at 'HMO Daddy' letting agency"


I recently tried to apply for housing from j9 as i was made homeless now i sofa surf i am not a druggy nor do i drink. I work full time at a bingo club...they knew all this when i applied. Instead i was told i had to wait, which is fair enough, but also that i had to wait because of "backround checks" i was a bit confused because i already knew what sort of people j9 were housing so i felt a bit singled out even though alcoholics and druggies get these rooms everyday...i also asked to have a studio because i didnt feel comfortable knowing that these shared houses were going to be full of the worst kind of people. Ive been in one of these houses as my freind was a tenant and the houses are not at all in the best of shape either the kitchen ,he shared with other people, was rotten the wood on the side tops were falling apartin the cupboards there were nests if spiders forming and there was damp eveywhere the bath room was full with mould, and lastly the windows were cracked and wohldnt open, there is so much more that needs to be done, all i wanted was a studio room closer to work thats all i asked for, they havent been in contact at all.


These people don't deserve to be housed anywhere do they? Maybe this group could come up with some plan, we could call it the 'final solution'.


Every town in the UK has an area where the dregs of society congregate and lower the tone of the whole area. Why don't we send these dole dossers to Syria and take in more refugees.


I know these feeling, we've had 4 new tenants in my area lately, two of them are blatantly prostitutes and the other two just sit around drinking and smoking weed all day, everyone else are young working professionals, its horrible to have to be around.


This is pathetic really, instead of blaming j9 hows about you look at the root cause instead.... Darlo!!! Its never been a place you want to bring you're kids up is it? Think you're jealous of the man cause of how well he's done, carry on housing people who need it cos wouldn't peiple rather them be in a bedsit rather than sleepin on the streets?? You people would only protest about that.... Fickle people around these days.....

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