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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Hi all,

I'm new to HoL, sorry to start off with a moan, but I wondered if anyone could offer some advice...

We're on Wightman rd, next to a house converted into 6 bedsits. Lovely landlords have failed to make any space for wheelie bins, so they just have the one, and a giant hedge behind which crap accumulates. Not much cop for potentially 12 people.

Earlier in the summer, with the addition of most of a divan, an impressive crap mountain appeared behind the hedge. I spoke to the council and they got it sorted. But since then, the wheelie has moved to the pavement (I think there's a couple with a baby, they're probably having trouble getting round the bin) and crap mountain has re-formed around it.

The torn bags (thanks various two and four legged scavengers) get re-bagged so someone cares a bit. The mountain gets cleared occasionally, but is back quickly and the present mess has been there for what seems like ages. It's depressing to see every day (and smell) and there's also the mice which keep eating their way into my flat.

There is a high turnover of tenants, they aren't particularly friendly and the landlord is clearly doing the absolute minimum possible. I am unsure what the council can do, as essentially the problem is a combination of none of the tenants having the capability/urge to deal with recycling and insufficient storage for the amount of refuse. They've said they can't make the landlord make space for more bins and I don't think a leaflet on collection days is going to sort it.

So, what can I do? Anything? Suggestions most welcome...

Thank you

Polly

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Hi V&M

The Council has a team which is responsible for dealing with houses in multiple occupation and private sector rented properties.  They license properties, inspect them and have enforcement powers. I would suggest you contact them directly about this property asking them to do a full inspection and serve whatever notices are required against the landlord. 

Contact: steve.russell@haringey.gov.uk who heads this team.

The Councillor in the Cabinet who leads on HMOs is Ali DeMirci and I would suggest you either copy him in or write to him as well. Email- ali.demirci@haringey.gov.uk. And of course, copy in all three Harringay ward councillors.

Zena Brabazon

Thank you Zena, that sounds like an excellent suggestion. I will follow it up. Karen and Clive have a good grip on things by the sound of it, but a bit more racket can only speed things up.

Polly

A full 40 hours after your post, Polly, and our Harringay Labour Trio haven't yet stuck their collective nose into our maggotty mess. Are they all off on a collective holiday somewhere?  Anyone hear anything about a Junket to Cannes or Cyprus?

Hi Polly

If this property has a certificate of lawfulness then you definitely need to contact Steve Russell and his team. They are working to environmental health powers and, as I said, can carry out a full inspection of the property and issue enforcement notices. Obviously contacting Veolia is fine, but what needs to  happen here is that the landlord is held to account for the management of his property.  So please contact Steve. 

Zena 

Hi Zena,

I've emailed Steve and John Forde (separately), just waiting for replies. If nothing by the end of the week I'll try to get someone on the phone and email again. Thank you for the advice and contacts, it would've taken me forever to work it out on my own.

Polly
Hi Zena,

I just had an email from Steve Russell. He says that it sounds like the premises require a licence (so maybe it doesn't have one now, or he hasn't checked yet) and waste storage will be one of the conditions of that licence. He's going to arrange an inspection and will update when there's been some progress.

Polly
Exactly Clive, just clearing up the mess isn't going to solve the problem (except of a few days). This property (if it is the one in question) simply does not have the room to house enough bins for the number of people living there and the footpath Is so narrow because of pavement parking that having them there isn't an option. That doesn't excuse the mess, but goes some way to explain why it's ended up like this.
The thing I'm having a hard time understanding is why the landlord was allowed to convert to that many dwellings without adequate refuse storage being an enforced requirement.

Looking at the standard planning application, question 7 asks about waste and refuse.  Either the owner, who I assume sought planning permission to convert from a single dwelling house to an HMO, did not comply with this or the planning officer didn't check if the actual proposal would allow for adequate waste storage.

PS - rubbish on the pavement again as I went by at 7am.

Or, he didn't bother to apply for planning permission. Much more likely.

John, if it's the one I'm thinking of I've had a look at the Haringey planning website and a certficate of lawful development was applied for.  It was vigorously opposed by the LCSP, Cllr Alexander and a neighbour but approved because the evidence submitted indicated that it had been operating as an HMO without permission for X number of years.  If enforcement action isn't taken within a set time the use can become permitted which is what seems to have happened in this case.  The only action open now to Haringey would seem to be enforcement around the litter or around its licensing as an HMO

… but approved because the evidence submitted indicated that it had been operating as an HMO without permission for X number of years.

Michael, I believe you may be right about this. As you may know, I am on the Planning Committee. At my first meeting, I asked about several applications that were approved under delegated powers (not heard by the Committee), that appear to fall into this category. I hope to get an answer from the Planning Department about this.

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