Leicester

Braunstone Town family found living in unheated garage

Braunstone Town garage home Image copyright Blaby District Council
Image caption The garage in Braunstone Town had no smoke alarms or a window to escape through if there were a fire

A family with a six-year-old child has been found living in "sub-standard conditions" in a garage with no heating.

The partitioned space, near Leicester, had no smoke alarms, no adequate fire escape, a broken shower and only one working plug socket.

The tenants told inspectors they were paying as much as £400 a month in rent.

The landlord has been banned from renting the space again unless "extensive work" is carried out.

Updates on this story and more from Leicestershire

Image copyright Blaby District Council
Image caption Three rooms - a kitchen, bathroom and living room - had been created by partitions inside the garage, leaving no natural light in the living room

The Portuguese family of three, who have now been re-homed, were found living in a section at the back and side of the garage in Braunstone Town in October.

Their home, where they lived for seven months, consisted of a small kitchen, a bathroom and a sitting room which doubled up as a bedroom.

Environmental health officer for Blaby District Council, Phil Fasham, said there was no natural light in their living area and the main garage door did not open, meaning they could have been trapped had a fire occurred.

Image copyright Blaby District Council
Image caption A window frame in the kitchen area was found to be rotten

Mr Fasham said the couple paid rent in cash directly to the landlord in varying amounts but had paid as much as £400.

"For a property for people to live in, it's one of the worst I have seen because it was so tiny," he said.

Environmental Health has served a prohibition order on the property, which means the landlord, who has not been named, will be prosecuted if anyone lives there before extensive works bring it up to council-approved standards.

Blaby councillor Guy Jackson said it was "hard to believe ... any landlord thinks that it is acceptable to let a family live in those conditions".

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