Shocking photos of council leader’s investment property undermine his denial that it was HMO

Since I last wrote on this subject I have written to council officers to challenge them on whether or not council leader Julian Bell failed to register his investment property (which he owns in addition to retaining his tenancy of a housing association home around the corner) as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). Officers confirm that the property has never been registered as an HMO. Apparently officers have accepted Bell’s story that he never let out his property to more than 3 students as would be required for him to stay on the right side of the law.

But, shocking pictures used in estate agents details undermine Bell’s case. Photos of only four out of five of the rooms shows nine beds. The impersonal rooms with microwaves do not have the look of a family home. As I laid out last week for Bell not to have broken the law we have to believe that he only had 3 or less tenants. These photos fail to make Bell’s case for him.

Bedroom A

This bedroom has a microwave, a single bed and two bunk beds. There are no personal items and the walls show no evidence of posters and other evidence that it has been used by a family rather than simply let out to short term tenants.

Bedroom B

This second room has another two bunk beds and another microwave. Again no sign of personal possessions.

Bedroom C

This third room has bunk beds again and we are up to seven beds already.

Bedroom D

Finally, the fourth room has a bed and a sofabed. So we have only seen four out of five of the rooms but we already have nine beds.

Bell has never repudiated these photographs, instead he has tried to explain them away. Observers can decide for themselves whether these impersonal rooms filled with two or three beds each constitute a HMO or a family home with three or less lodgers. Council officers at Ealing Council believe council leader Julian Bell. Do you?

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5 Responses to Shocking photos of council leader’s investment property undermine his denial that it was HMO

  1. Marc Cornelius says:

    I certainly don’t believe Cllr Bell, and I’m astounded, but not really surprised, that the council are taking no action.

  2. Eddy says:

    Phil
    Are council officers at Ealing really the ones who should be judging their own council leader? I agree Cllr Bell’s claims are not believable and how can there be any faith in Ealing council to deal with unlicensed HMOs if they let their leader away it? BTW if Bell is admitting to three students I think he has breached regulations. Ealing’s web for additional licenses says

    ” HMO, or any part of it, comprises two or more storeys
    It is occupied by four or more people
    It is occupied by people living in two or more households

    Bell and three students would constitute four people in two households. His daughter he says lives there too would make five.
    Ealing council are too close and have too many vested interests to be objective

  3. John Martin says:

    Very surprised to find this website and posting. I have been actively posting on W4 Website as to why Mr Bell[and his Wife] has been able to obtain a loan from LBE which is registered as a second Charge at HM Land Registry over this property . I am not interested in the politics but think that as a Council Tax payer @ LBE we should be told how Mr&Mrs Bell got a loan from LBE over this property and the basis of the loan. There is a first charge in favour of Bank of Scotland[ registered in 2007] which presumably is a “buy to let mortgage” although I doubt they lend on HMOs if that is what this property is. Don’t know . Then there is a Second Charge registered in favour of LBE recently [2014] and then a 3rd charge in favour of a Manchester based finance company. The whole thing is very odd indeed . I keep posting in the hope of a proper explanation.I have no interest whether the Bell’s still have a public sector tenancy but I suspect if I was on a waiting list for one I would not be over pleased .

  4. Angela White says:

    John, how shocking. Not only do I find the whole matter of owning a house whilst renting social housing from A2 Dominion quite vulgar and disingenuous as Leader of a Labour Council, but to find Ealing Council what appears to be “loaning” money as mortgage is, surely, giving the appearance of corruption?

  5. Michael Foley says:

    I think it’s wrong to pick on one individual property owner, it seems to me to be a personal attack or vendetta. I can see plainly there are too many beds but that said the Property is very clean & tidy, it’s obviously been refurbished to a very high standard,
    The furniture is new, good quality seems to be mostly from Ikea by the looks of it. I know there are plenty of properties in the Borough three stories high and more than five persons in occupation without licences but are filthy dirty and don’t make the effort or spend some money to make them presentable for Tenants because they don’t care.

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