Landlord who turned garages into rooms to rent could face prosecution after Norwich City Council authorises enforcement action

The garages in Whistlefish Court, where councillors have agreed to authorise enforcement action. Pic

The garages in Whistlefish Court, where councillors have agreed to authorise enforcement action. Pic: Dan Grimmer. - Credit: Archant

A landlord who converted two garages into rooms to rent could be taken to court.

One of the homes in Whistlefish Court, where councillors have agreed to authorise enforcement action

One of the homes in Whistlefish Court, where councillors have agreed to authorise enforcement action. Pic: Dan Grimmer. - Credit: Archant

Norwich City Council is ready to take enforcement action over two homes in Whistlefish Court, off Dereham Road.

The owner of the three-storey semi-detached homes - at numbers 66 and 67 - has turned two garages into separate residential units, and the houses are being rented out as homes of multiple occupation.

The council says planning permission should have been obtained for the conversion of the garages and for the property to be used to house so many people renting separate rooms.

Officers, in their report, said the converted garages provided 'a poor standard of amenity for its occupiers'.

One of the homes in Whistlefish Court, where councillors have agreed to authorise enforcement action

One of the homes in Whistlefish Court, where councillors have agreed to authorise enforcement action. Pic: Dan Grimmer. - Credit: Archant


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And they said: 'The current unauthorised residential use would have a significant detrimental impact on the residential amenities of occupiers and neighbouring properties.'

Members of City Hall's planning committee today unanimously agreed to take enforcement action.

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The council says it has already told the owner to stop the use of the converted garage and to cease the unauthorised use of the home for what is known as sui generis multiple occupation.

The owner did have permission for the home to be used to house up to six people, but once that number was exceeded, it constituted a breach.

City councillor Mike Sands.

City councillor Mike Sands. - Credit: Archant

The enforcement action could involve the owner being prosecuted or could see the council take direct action to prevent the unauthorised use. The owner would still be allowed to use the property as a house of multiple occupation, if fewer separate rooms were let.

The tenants did not want to comment.

Last month, city councillors approved enforcement action at 55 Cunningham Road in Norwich.

Eight people were living in that property, but the owner had not got the correct permission.

The rear entrance to one of the converted garages. Pic: Norwich City Council.

The rear entrance to one of the converted garages. Pic: Norwich City Council. - Credit: Archant

Planning committee member Mike Sands said at the time: 'This sends a strong message to landlords who think they can cram people into houses and exploit them for profit.'

What's in a name?

Whistlefish Court is a mixture of houses and flats off Dereham Road - but you're probably more interested in finding out what a whistlefish is.

The answer is that it's an archaic word for, unsurprisingly, a fish. To be precise, a fish variously known as three-bearded rockling, gossat, sea loach or sorghe.

The three-bearded rockling gets its name from the three barbules located around its mouth.

While it's from the same order of fish as cod, what were once known as whistlefish do not make their way onto dinner plates.

The British Sea Fishing website says: 'Despite being a member of the cod family it is unlikely that rockling will ever catch on as a table fish as their perceived unattractive appearance and covering of slime well and truly puts consumers off.'

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