Brent Council launches crackdown on rogue landlords allowing people to live in garden sheds

Annexes could be demolished if found

Rogue landlords who illegally house up to twenty people in garden ‘sheds’ will soon be targeted as part of a �200,000 clamp down.

Brent Council is aiming to crack down on a practise known as ‘beds in sheds’, which sees landlords build annexes onto homes they own to provide illegal accommodation to renters.

A �163,745 grant from central government was handed to Brent, thought to be one of the worst affected boroughs in the country.

A number of options will now be put forward including working with other local authorities to catch prevalent landlords and limiting the size of garden buildings.

For the last three years the council has served around 28 enforcement notices each year however it expects this to increase to nearly 100 by next year.

Speaking about the problem, Chris Walker, assistant director for planning and development at Brent Council, said: “It is a big concern in Brent and we want to show people that this is an issue we take seriously, we are robust in our approach in that we will, on occasion, insist the building to be completely demolished.”

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Areas of concern highlighted as ‘problem zones’ were Kingsbury, Neasden and Wembley and areas with a high density of terraced housing.

He added: “We often find that people are living in very poor conditions with little to no facilities at extortionate rates.

“People renting in these situations are very hard to track down, they are not registered to doctors or health services and often disappear when an enforcement is made.

“However, where possible we will strive to help families and children who are in difficulty.”

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council and a councillor for Tokyngton ward in Wembley, said: “I have seen examples of people living in incredibly poor facilities paying way over the odds.

“This is about helping the community by showing that we are recognising the problem and taking the appropriate action.”

The crack-down is expected to begin in August this year.