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Radio DJ rents 12 garages as bedrooms

A radio DJ from Manchester has been criticised for renting out 12 garages as bedrooms. Planning officials who visited the residence were horrified at the conditions in which tenants were living.

Property owner Darren Parks built a wall behind the garage doors and has been renting them as rooms for the last six years. One of his tenants claims they pay him £450 per month for a room and use of a shared kitchen in one house in Greater Manchester. Mr Parks claims he was told over the phone that planning permission was not needed to convert the garages to bedrooms. However, he has now been told to turn them all back into garages.

Mr Parks said “Being a DJ is my proper job and this property is an off-shoot of what I do. I’m being portrayed as a dodgy landlord and I’m not that person.

“I bought the houses off-plan and wanted to make the conversions before I’d purchased them. In a call with the planning officer I was told no planning permission would be needed to change the use from a garage into living accommodation.

“That was the advice we acted on in good faith. These are beautiful town houses and these rooms have never been used as garages. I have no choice but to go to the Planning Inspectorate and wait for the appeal. Hopefully common sense will prevail.”

Greater Manchester council’s planning committee were shocked at the amount of cash the tenants, who are a mix of students from the university and professionals, were paying to live in such conditions. They also find it difficult to believe that someone prepared to invest in six properties would not be aware of the rules which apply. After being told he was not allowed to use the garages as bedrooms he then applied for retrospective planning permission which was rejected and now says he will appeal.

The case illustrates the care landlords must take when converting properties and that landlord insurance and adherence to legislation is of paramount importance.

By Simon Dack

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