I have spent a lot of this year in conflict with ignorant landlords. The other week I got a neighbour notification notice about a planning application (13/04474/FUL) and being someone who likes to know what’s happening in his neighbourhood and care about improving it I looked it up. It was described as an application to turn the unused office opposite me into a residential property. This makes perfect sense since I live in a street full of small residential properties and no offices. However when I read the application on the council’s faffy planning website and found the small print it was actually an application to turn it into a serviced apartment. These are short stay hotels and often get used as party flats, rented out to people who make a lot of noise late at night and throw up at three in the morning then go back home. Edinburgh has seen an increase in these and some are even so bad that the council had to take the owner to court and confiscate the property.
So I put in an objection to the planning application, I asked my neighbours to do the same and I put up a notice on the property’s window (with cheap easily removed masking tape) explaining to anyone passing by the status and what they should do about it. After exchanging some e-mails with my local councillor and community council it was clarified that it would not be allowed to be turned into a serviced apartment and the architects submitted a revised application (13/04769/FUL) for it to be a residential unit. Success for local democratic processes and everyone happy all round.
Except I just received the following e-mail (CCed to architect Marcus McEwan) insulting me and making idle threats from the owner, Paul Anthony Dickens. Paul Dickens is a bankrupt property tycoon who has for example lost a court case where he took money from his own company just before it went bust but was ordered to return it. He also launched a guaranteed profit buy-to-let scheme in 2004 making him a significant factor in the financial crisis of 2008. He has been in short term property lets for some time. It makes me very sad when failed landlords make idle threats because people took the time to correct their actions. He now seems to work for Shepherd Chartered Surveyors, I hope his employer is responsible enough to tell him how unacceptable it is to insult and threaten people.