Sunday, 28 April 2019 11:36

PCC told their licence condition “would be a waste of time, effort and money”

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PCC told their licence condition “would be a waste of time, effort and money”

In the first of the current string of appeals against PCC licensing decisions to come before a Tribunal, PDPLA member Lucy Fryer has won her appeal against PCC’s judgement on what constitutes a small room.

The legal requirement for a bedroom in an HMO is that it be at least 6.51 sq m. That is small, but subject to layout and furnishings it can be quite acceptable and it avoids wasting the small bedroom that was added to many Portsmouth houses when they were built in the 1920’s and 30’s.  They are popular, as landlords tend to offer them much more cheaply than larger rooms and when living with a group of friends, having a small room and low rent, but still having access to the rest of the house is often seen as a very desirable solution.

The room in question was larger than required, it had a sloping ceiling, two Velux windows and ensuite facilities. The Council wanted the latter removed. The Tribunal decided this "would be a waste of time, effort and money which would not serve any statutory purpose.”

We have at least 7 more appeals coming up starting on the 8th May and will update on those in the next newsletter.

The tribunal made some interesting observations, read on for a summary of their key points.  

42 Therefore, what is required is an assessment by the Tribunal of the qualitative effects of bedroom 7 having in part a sloping ceiling and the presence of an ensuite rather than additional living space. The Tribunal is satisfied that the configuration as at present is both objectively attractive and functionally useful. The Tribunal accepts the observation of Ms Fryer that the occupant can perform all usual living activities in this bedroom. It may be that bedroom 7 has an over generous provision of furniture, but that is a matter for the current occupant.

 43 The plans and photographs, supplemented by the current tenant: letter, describe accommodation which is without doubt suitable. This is subject to one caveat. The Tribunal accepts that not everyone would choose this room. The sloping ceiling of part makes the room unsuitable for taller members of the population. That does not make bedroom 7 unsuitable in general terms. 

The Tribunal considers that the provision of ensuite washing facilities in the context of bedroom 7 is an advantage and one that can be properly allowed to be enjoyed having regard to the area, height and layout of the bedroom.

44 As the Housing Health & Safety Rating Standards recognise, the Tribunal accepts that there will be locations in which the lack of usable space could cause psychological harm to an occupier. Not so in bedroom 7.

45 The room is attractively arranged and provides a facility that is suitable. To require the removal of the ensuite would be a waste of time, effort and money which would not serve any statutory purpose. Of course, if the arrangements for bedroom 7 were not suitable, requiring the removal of the ensuite facility, the condition would have been legitimately imposed and this appeal would have failed. However, that is not the case. The suitability of bedroom 7 for occupation in the HMO which is the Property is plain to see. Bedroom 7 provides a safe, useable environment for its occupier.

46 Accordingly, we allow this appeal and direct that the licence is varied by the deletion of the special conditions.

Last modified on Sunday, 28 April 2019 11:47

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