Oxford using plane with thermal imaging to catch beds in sheds

by Property 118

14:17 PM, 2nd September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Oxford using plane with thermal imaging to catch beds in sheds

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Oxford using plane with thermal imaging to catch beds in sheds

Oxford Council with the aid of a £274,942 government grant has been using a plane with thermal imaging to catch illegal beds in sheds run by criminals without planning permission. The extra heat signatures given off by people renting sheds as homes is a tell tale give away from the air in the same way police use the technology to catch cannabis farms run from homes and other buildings.

In total so far Oxford City Council  have shut down 21 sheds used illegally as rental accommodation and served 31 enforcement notices in the last year and a half. The Council are also calling upon the public to report any suspected sheds or garages used for this purpose and are planning on inspecting a further 400 outbuilding by the end of December.

Linda Smith, cabinet member for housing said: “If you think there are beds in sheds in your neighbourhood, please contact our private sector safety team and we’ll take action.

“Oxford has the highest proportion of private rented homes in the country and every private tenant should have a decent roof over their head. We work proactively to drive up standards in private rented housing and we won’t tolerate rogue landlords exploiting tenants by providing substandard and dangerous housing whether this is a bed in a shed, a house in multiple occupation or a family home.

“Conditions in some of these beds in sheds are appalling and we won’t accept this.”



Comments

Luke P

14:34 PM, 2nd September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

21 shut down at a cost of over £270,000, which (statistically speaking) will reduce in number of successful outcomes as time continues, meaning the already £10+k per shed will increase. I don't for one moment condone beds in sheds, but is this a good use of money when so much more could be done with a similar amount. Psychologically this just feeds the 'gotcha' nature of council workers that believe most LLs are dodgy.

Darren Peters

8:49 AM, 3rd September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Wonder what our friends at Shelter will advise these shed tenants to do.

James Barnes

9:19 AM, 3rd September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

To be fair it doesn't actually say Oxford City have spent all of the £274,942, and nor does it say what enforcement action they're taking afterward . Beds in sheds is primarily a planning matter rather than housing, which means the Proceeds of Crime Act could be used recover illegally gained rent. The whole exercise has the potential to end up being cost neutral.
I don't think there's anything bad about this, hopefully anyone considering setting up or already renting beds in sheds will decide it's not worth it now knowing the measures Council's will go to to stop it.

Adam Withford

13:56 PM, 3rd September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Did anyone put a gun to someone’s head to make them rent a shed?

Some of the conditions are stated as “appalling”, but who would put up with appalling conditions?

Is there a large drug problem in Oxfordshire or maybe an illegal immigrant programme? Would the council really spend that kind of money on ‘cleaning up’ the PRS in their borough?

Something sounds off and the LL’s yet again get the scape-goat treatment.

Luke P

14:11 PM, 3rd September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Adam Withford at 03/09/2019 - 13:56
For all our attempts at multicultural inclusiveness, we still don't seem to get it...in expensive places such as London many folk from other countries actively CHOOSE to live many people to a house/room/shed (regardless of the law), because not only does it make for cheaper living, it's the only way many can afford to live in such an area. Take it away and it's not as though they're suddenly going to be able to afford market rent in their own flat.

The Forever Tenant

15:48 PM, 3rd September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 03/09/2019 - 14:11
I do wonder that it may not be that they choose to, but more that they have to.

I would be concerned with it appearing that you are almost advocating for the ability for people to provide rundown shacks as acceptable residential locations. Its comments like these that the Press would love to latch onto and use against the PRS.

Luke P

16:04 PM, 3rd September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by The Forever Tenant at 03/09/2019 - 15:48
Give it a rest. Don't see it as a choice between a 'nice' house and a slum at the same price. The vast majority of tenants in these sheds (especially in the SE) simply cannot afford to pay the market rent for anything other than a slum. And I don't necessarily mean a 'purpose-built' slum, but a perfectly reasonable property that the tenants *themselves* choose to get several of their low-earning friends to join them in and slowly run it down.

Adam Withford

17:32 PM, 3rd September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by The Forever Tenant at 03/09/2019 - 15:48
Exactly, they “have to”.

But why? The LHA is generally enough to cover a modest flat. So they are either benefit fraudulent or off-grid.

The fact is, it is cheaper and easier for the Gov to damage the PRS than build the homes, even if it means spending £280k on heat-seeking nonsenses.

Anne Nixon

19:00 PM, 3rd September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by The Forever Tenant at 03/09/2019 - 15:48
I think the fact is that some people simply do not have the money to pay the rent in expensive areas like Oxford and central London and rather than rent the 'beds in sheds' they would be better choosing a location where renting a home is within their budget. There are plenty of affordable areas and it is not a god given right to be able to live in any location you please, it's a case of cutting your coat according to your cloth.

Chris Daniel

22:07 PM, 3rd September 2019
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Anne Nixon at 03/09/2019 - 19:00
Absolutely right Anne, spot on.
Its like the tenants on benefit complaining about being housed outside London.
I'd like to live in Hollywood, but I can't afford it and don't ask my local Council to fund my rent there.

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