Tenants STILL in HMO Daddy's unauthorised homes one year on
Tenants who were given two months to leave their homes which had been converted from former business premises without permission are STILL living there more than a year later.
Walsall Council took enforcement action against landlord Jim Haliburton – aka the HMO Daddy – in March 2016 ordering him to return 51 to 53 Wolverhampton Street, Willenhall, and 16 Butts Road, near Walsall Arboretum, to their original state within around 60 days - effectively evicting the people living there.
The residents had already been in the ‘unacceptable’ housing for more than a year before the issues came to the light, and now a further 16 months on the properties are still occupied.
The council 's enforcement action has yet to be implemented after Mr Haliburton entered formal planning applications to legitimise both addresses.
But authority leader Sean Coughlan, who has spoken vehemently against the Wolverhampton Street building in his own ward, expressed his frustration at the situation.
He said: "My attitude towards these properties hasn't changed. It is not what we want for that type of building in the area.
"The planning applications have just held everything up. It is just one of the frustrating things about the planning system and the law. It lets landlords abuse the system."
Councillor Coughlan argued that aside from whether the properties were suitable for housing or not, one of the issues without planning permission is that they did not have proper waste collection facilities.
He added: "There is still rubbish being dumped in the area because there are no bins.
"It is part of the problem when buildings are converted there isn't a dedicated bin store."
Updates on both properties have been prepared for the council's planning committee meeting on Thursday.
Concerning Wolverhampton Street a report states enforcement action was re-issued earlier this year but an issue over ownership details on land registry caused it to 'bounce back'.
While regarding Butts Road the document states enforcement action has been held due to the 'live' planning application.
Mr Haliburton told the Express & Star: "We are working very closely with the council in a positive way forward to address the concerns of the council and the residents.
"The council has been very helpful to this end.
"Tenants have still been happily living there without problems and without disruption to the neighbours.
"The planning applications are being processed. It takes time."