Coincidence or magic?

13 May


There have been two significant set backs for Councillor Ahmed Noor this week as he fights for his political career after Newham council served him with an enforcement notice for using 238 Romford Road as an HMO (‘house in multiple occupation’) and not commercial offices.

On Monday night an outraged Labour group suspended him, pending an investigation into his conduct. That will be carried out by the chief executive, who will present a formal report to the mayor.

And yesterday Private Eye led their Rotten Boroughs page with the Romford Road enforcement notice story. A number of his fellow landlord councillors also got a name check. None of them will thank him for that.

I understand that Noor’s defence is that he let the building out to another company and they are the ones responsible; he didn’t know what was going on.

If that doesn’t work he can try another excuse: the council is wrong and the property is being used as offices. 

In a happy coincidence of timing, on May 5th – just a week after the enforcement notice was served – a company called Gas Tech Heating & Plumbing Ltd tweeted that 238 Romford Road was its new head office. It also posted the news on its Facebook page.

You can see from the photo above that their signage now covers all of the windows – even those on the upper floor with curtains drawn.

According to the Companies House website Gas Tech is a “Non-trading company”. No doubt this will change when the company files its next return, due in August.

Out of curiosity, I went round to take a look at the property yesterday evening after work. There were two men sat in a Gas Tech van on the forecourt. They got very agitated about my being there. I was told that this was private property and that I should leave immediately. After I mentioned the Private Eye story and outlined its contents they claimed to know nothing about any of that. I was told, at great length and at considerable volume, that I should find something better to do with my time and that I was only doing this because I’m bored; I need to re-establish a relationship with my creator. 

While this was going on three other people walked up – unchallenged – to let themselves into the building through the locked steel grill and front door beyond. None were dressed in overalls, nor were they carrying plumbing tools. 

4 Responses to “Coincidence or magic?”

  1. Jay May 13, 2015 at 18:06 #

    Especially in the aftermath of the election, the Labour Party should not, and must not, turn a blind eye to Labour local councillors breaking the law. Criminal behaviour by greedy private landlords profiteering on the desperate needs of the poor and the homeless is despicable. Worse for the perpetrator to be in local authority. One of the saddest aspects of the Private Eye report was that they sited several names of other Labour Newham councillor landlords in the borough whom the law might investigate. Housing, and the lack of it, is a BIG issue for all Parties. If any of them are renting out highly over-crowded, poorly maintained dwellings, any of which have been unlawfully turned from commercial use to multiple dwellings, then let’s see the law crack down in action, and doing its duty in helping stamp out odious racketeer slum landlords.

    • M May 30, 2015 at 15:13 #

      Yes, there is a shortage of housing. However, for the sake of playing politics, why should this house be reverted back to commercial use?. It was originally built as a house.

      As this blog points out there may be still some people living there. What happens to them? In the interest of objectivity, this blog should have spoken to these tenants and to ask them about their opinion of the council action and their landlord.

      I was able to download the enforcement notice (the web site is working now). Its says “The conversion of the property to a house in multiple occupation provides a poor quality of accommodation which is to the detriment of the persons who reside there”

      I don’t believe this is a complaint about the condition of the property. Rather this is planning department speak for the council saying they don’t like HMOs.

      I agree with the council, that big houses should not be converted to HMOs. As people who don’t know each other are forced to share facilities such as living rooms, kitchen and bathroom with strangers. There can be conflicts in such households. No one takes responsibility in the household.

      However, we have to look at who is there to supply accommodation for people who can only afford to rent single rooms?. Is the council fulfilling this demand? People in the past where more willing to take on lodgers.

      The council housing policy favour building more family home, but what about homes for single people????


      The council should protection, subdivision of houses to flat or HMOs. However, new builds should have a proportion of homes for single people. Somewhere there they can have a bed, with en-suite bathroom and a small kitchenette without having to share such facilities with others.

      The ‘beds in sheds’ is all about people wanting places to live where they don’t have to share with others.

      Jay, you talk of overcrowding. The people who live in overcrowded accommodation are those who are not claiming benefits and are self-reliant and have jobs. They are saving up for a deposit for a house.

      In contrast those on benefits, have until recently had it easy because they don’t have to live in over crowded accommodation. Each child effectively gets a bedroom.

  2. M May 27, 2015 at 00:01 #

    This is an embarrassment for Sir Robin Wales. One of Sir Robin’s landmark policies has been to go after Landlords. Sir Robin has egg on his face when it turns out an alleged rogue Landlord could be one of his own Councillors and a member of the Labour party!

    I wonder how far Newham Council will go, whether they will prosecute Councillor Ahmed Noor or let him off with a warning. If Newham Council don’t prosecute Councillor Ahmed Noor, then it undermines Newham Council prosecuting another rogue Landlords.

    Although saying that, this enforcement action is from Newham planning department. They can only ask him to revert back to a commercial property. He will only be subject to a fine of up to £20,000 fine, if the property is is subject to Landlord Licensing. However, as this is a commercial property, it is not subject to Licensing, so the £20,000 fine does not come into the picture. I am not a legal expert…..

    I could not find the enforcement notice against Councillor Ahmed Noor (and the link from this blog is broken). I did find the Enforcement notices of 2013, against London Quadrant Housing Trust. So it is confusing what is going on here. There is also an enforcement notice from the beds in sheds project.

    Whilst you could give Councillor Ahmed Noor, the benefit of the doubt – he rented this property as commercial premises and an unscrupulously person re-let it as an illegal HMO, without his knowledge. However, he does describe his employment as – Property Rental & Selling Property.

    Gas Tech Heating & Plumbing Ltd renting a 6+ bedroom sized property, when they only have only one qualified gas engineer seems mind boggling.

    Councillor Ahmed Noor could have sought to convert this commercial property to a residential house. Given the shortage in housing, it seems unlikely Newham Council would have objected, especially as it was historically a house. However, Newham Council would not have been favourable to his property as an HMO.

    Sir Robin Wales has reported all Newham landlords to the tax office. I wonder if Sir Robin Wales will report his own Councillor to the tax office?.

    There are some oddities on Councillor Ahmed Noor’s register of interest. On 26 August 2014, he does declare any properties, then on 3rd September 2014, it shows him owning six properties. Why did he not declare them in the first instance?

    Unless, I am mistaken some of his other properties might not be residential, but shops….

  3. terry ball July 6, 2015 at 17:59 #

    wonder who owns gas tech ??

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