Stef and Phillips

Does anyone have any experience of Stef and Phillips? They appear to be renovating a house next to mine without any warning at all and are being very coy about speaking to us. For example, the only reason we know who they are is because we’ve spoken to the subcontractors. I’ve had a look at their website and I’m not inspired. Seems to all be done with funding from Lewisham Council, so even more annoyed by the total lack of warning or consultation.

Never heard of them till now but a quick search on Companies House looks odd, a dormant company for a number of years doesn’t match up to the About Us story on their website.
The picked a 2 million pound debt in 2020 added onto a +600,000 one in 2019

Hi , the same is happening to the house next to me in Morden. This is a very strange company and I am now at the stage of taking legal action to get them to rectify the damage the have caused to my property. Happy to talk if you want to discuss what I have found out about them and the way they operate. Contact me on 07808179490

Looks like they provide HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupancy) for various vulnerable groups - including and as well as homes for families, disabled people and mother & baby units and more. I guess they would get local authority funding to help with the set-up and possibly (I don’t know) higher rents paid by the LA than for the more normal let?

@Moto_Hodder I attended a meeting yesterday evening co-ordinated by local MP Janet Daby as there are widespread concerns about the activities of Stef & Philips in SE6. Both Janet and Lewisham Council Planning are interested to hear from anyone who has concerns around neighbouring properties being converted to HMOs

I’ve already complained to my MP, Ellie Reeves, who has written to the council on our behalf, but curiously, I saw someone from the council visit the property this morning to ask questions. Not sure what the outcome was, however. Perhaps we’ll be updated in due course.

My gut feeling is that the unannounced building work (which is not that disturbing now) was only the start of the problems and that the future churn of tenants might be the bigger issue.

Happy to add my name to any investigation if that’s needed, although, as I said, we may already have been included via Ellie Reeves.

Here’s some policy for you with some bits that may be relevant in bold -

Adopted Development Management Local Plan 2014

DM Policy 3 Conversion of a single family house to two or more dwellings

  1. The Council will refuse planning permission for the conversion of a single family house [read *dwelling as per 2015 Consultation in 6.23 below] into flats except where environmental conditions mean that the single family house is not suitable for family accommodation due to any factor listed below:

a. adjacent to noise generating or other environmentally unfriendly uses

b. lack of external amenity space suitable for family use.

  1. Any single family house considered suitable for conversion according to point 1 of this policy will need to have a net internal floorspace greater than 130 sq. m.

  2. All conversions must meet the general design requirements and housing standards in DM Policy 25 (Landscaping and trees), DM Policy 29 (Car parking), DM Policy 30 (Urban design and local character), DM Policy 31 (Alterations and extensions to existing buildings including residential extensions) and DM Policy 32 (Housing design, layout and space standards).

DM Policy 6 Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

1. The Council will only consider the provision of new Houses in Multiple Occupation where they:

a. are located in an area with a public transport accessibility level (PTAL) of 3 or higher

b. do not give rise to any significant amenity impact(s) on the surrounding neighbourhood [read as ‘cause nuisance or disturbance to neighbours’ see 6.25 below]

c. do not result in the loss of existing larger housing suitable for family occupation, and

d. satisfy the housing space standards outlined in DM Policy 32. 2. The Council will resist the loss of good quality Houses in Multiple Occupation.

  1. The self containment of Houses in Multiple Occupation, considered to provide a satisfactory standard of accommodation for those who need shorter term relatively low cost accommodation will not be permitted, unless the existing floorspace is satisfactorily re-provided to an equivalent or better standard.

2015 – Lewisham LLP - Consultation on Main Issues Conversion of Larger Dwellings to Flats

6.23 There is pressure in the borough for the internal subdivision of large dwellings to create a number of flats, but this reduces the number of larger dwellings (3 or more bedrooms) available. As most new dwellings built are one or two bedrooms (mostly flats) there is a need to conserve the stock of larger dwellings. Therefore current policy not to permit further such subdivisions is unlikely to change.

Houses in Multiple Occupation

6.25 Although there is a need for this type of occupancy(13) , such dwellings need to be located close to good public transport and not cause nuisance or disturbance to neighbours or to the wider neighbourhoods in which they are located. The need for Houses in Multiple Occupation, notwithstanding other planning considerations, means that they should be built and finished to a high standard, in order to avoid the poor quality of accommodation that often characterises short-term housing.

6.26 The Council is aware of illegal and substandard houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in some parts of the borough and is moving to have these returned to legal forms of occupation and to have illegal building work regularised or removed as appropriate.

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This is indeed interesting, but I don’t think they’ve actually applied for any planning permission, so the opportunity to object or refuse has never come up.

The thing is, if it’s not a straightforward HMO, but perhaps a sort of refuge for one of the more vulnerable groups, I think the council may have a more pressing duty or obligation to protect these people, which might outweigh some of the normal reasons for objection. But please don’t take my word for that as it’s only a hunch.

Had a reply from the council via Ellie Reeves.

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It’s not one if these is it? This is a joint venture with Stef & Philips HMO Portfolio that includes Lewisham houses.

More Lewisham HMOs here

Not that I can see, but it is fairly depressing to look at…

When you look at the normal small terraced and semi-detached houses under the “HMO - EEH VENTURES” just bear in mind that on average each one has been converted into 6 individual bed-sit type housing units.

I know another landlord who did this in Bromley Common and he turned small a 3-bedroom terraced house, that he was renting out for £1,300 per month, into a 6-bed HMO, for which he now charges between £600 to £695 per month per room - so £3,900 per month… triple the amount he was previously getting.

As a landlord myself, yeah, the money looks lovely but at what cost to the neighbours and the local community - because, with many of these set-ups comes elements of anti-social behaviour and nuisance, which can cause so much disharmony to a traditionally peaceful neighbourhood so I haven’t gone down that path to riches.

To be fair, Lewisham’s Crime, Enforcement & Regulation team, together with local police and local councillors (shout-out for our Leo Gibbons :+1:t3: and PC Kemal :+1:t3:) work very hard on behalf of local communities to try to get on top of problem situations when the occur but, as with much enforcement, it takes time.

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A rather depressing bit of background on the issue of HMOs in Lewisham:

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Thanks for sharing this. Apparently, Anotherjohn’s friend could be earning 50% more with the right tenants!

Curiously, the house next to me is still empty despite being finished for several weeks. Perhaps Lewisham have found a way to slow them down?

That article hints as to why I highlighted the anti-social problems that some of these HMOs bring to unsuspecting neighbourhoods - "…intended as a stop-gap for people who temporarily need assistance during a transitional stage in their lives. This includes people emerging from prison, people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction…" and, as the author says, mercenary landlords who don’t care about people or communities are getting up to £960 per month for each of the 6 occupants (total £5760) after doing a crash-bang-wallop carve-up of a 3/4-bedroom dwelling that would have previously rented to a family for maybe £1500 per month.

Lewisham have created Article 4 direction areas specifically preventing HMOs -

and they have a planning policy -

DM Policy 6

Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

1. The Council will only consider the provision of new Houses in Multiple Occupation where they:

a. are located in an area with a public transport accessibility level (PTAL) of 3 or higher

b. do not give rise to any significant amenity impact(s) on the surrounding neighbourhood [read as ‘cause nuisance or disturbance to neighbours’ see 6.25 on page 3]

c. do not result in the loss of existing larger housing suitable for family occupation,

but I think more needs to be done - and very quickly - to prevent these greedy landlords being able to fill their pockets by making more of these hell-holes.