19th Dec, 2018

Angry father calls for tighter building regulation enforcement after claims son fell ill living in student flat

AN ANGRY father is calling for tighter building standards enforcement for student flats.

Phil Simpson’s son Ben was living in a flat in Leamington, which had been converted from offices, while studying at the University of Warwick.

When Ben complained of the cold and feeling ill last winter, his dad visited to find his son’s dormer room on the top floor had only single glazing and no insulation. Condensation was also a major problem.

Phil called a building inspector at Warwick District Council to visit who agreed the accommodation was not up to standard, and that no completion certificate had been issued.

But when a housing officer from the council was called out, they said standards had been met and a completion certificate was not required.

Mr Simpson said: “This must be wrong and the law needs changing.

“I said to the building inspector ‘I could buy a block of garages apply for permission, convert without insulation, obtain an HMO licence, charge a fortune and no one is bothered’ – so what’s the point of building regulations if no one does anything about it?

“Students and parents accept what is there and decide ‘we are only here short term let’s live with it’. And that is not fair and must be stopped.

“I believe this situation is rife in Leamington.

“The simplest change would be to pass a law that ensures no HMO has a licence issued until a completion certificate is produced.

“I believe some councils in fact already operate this way.”

A district council spokesperson said the property held an HMO licence and met with requirements for lettings which included energy efficiency and insulation.

But for some regulations the building which is listed, was exempt from compliance.

The spokesperson added: “In light of this complaint we will carry out an inspection of the property and liaise with the landlord to determine what measures can be taken to improve insulation within the restraints of the listed building regulations.”

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