Thurrock Council has been successfully granted with an interim injunction by the High Court to prevent residents living in an unsafe House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), in what is believed to be a UK first.
On Friday 7 May, the High Court granted the interim injunction against 2 residents who had continued living in a HMO in Grays. They had continued living there despite a number of dangerous Category One and Category Two hazards being identified at the property, including risk of fire and inadequate means of escape.
It is believed to be the first injunction of its kind to be granted in the UK where the injunction has been used to prevent occupation of a property for not complying with a prohibition order.
Cllr Rob Gledhill, Leader of Thurrock Council, said: "This is a significant achievement for Thurrock Council. We will continue to lead by example and find alternative solutions where failure to comply with the original order would have usually lead to prosecution proceedings against the residents who would remain in unsafe conditions.
"The residents living in the building were being treated unfairly and were enticed by cheap rent in exchange for not only poor but dangerous living conditions. The council's swift action meant we were able to ensure they moved out of a dangerous property. This High Court decision could lead the way for other authorities who may find themselves in the same situation to use our judgment as case law."
The council originally identified the hazards and served a prohibition order on the property on 10 December 2020. The property had been sub-let as a HMO to at least 8 people and it was later discovered that the back of the premises had also been occupied and posed dangerous Category One hazards.
The order prohibited the property as a residential dwelling and a number of sub-tenants vacated and accepted support from the council with rehousing.
The 2 occupants who remained at the HMO against the terms of the order have been ordered by the High Court judge to vacate the property within 14 days. The council will assist in finding them alternative accommodation.
Report concerns about a HMO at thurrock.gov.uk/hmo or contact the council's Private Housing team if you need help resolving an issue about a HMO.