Brent has collected more than £100,000 in council tax from illegal 'beds in sheds'
PUBLISHED: 11:53 14 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:58 14 March 2013
Town hall coffers boosted by payments from illegally converted properties
Brent Council has come under fire for collecting hundreds of thousands of pounds in council tax from “beds in sheds” they deemed illegal nine years ago.
The Times has learned that two neighbouring properties in Heber Road, Cricklewood, had an enforcement order placed on them in 2004 after council officers discovered they had been illegally converted into eight and six separate flats.
The order was supposed to be complied with within six months but charges have still been collected on the properties ever since. More than £100,000 in council tax has been taken from the tenants since the enforcement order was served.
The conversion also includes two outbuildings, commonly known as “beds in sheds”, annexes built onto homes or in garages.
A fine of £2,000 plus prosecution costs was issued to the landlord of one property in 2011, but no follow-up action was taken on the other.
Beds in sheds, which the council recently condemned on television, usually have little or no heating and no windows.
A neighbour of the property said: “If the accommodation is sub-standard and subject to an enforcement notice, how can Brent Council charge council tax to those living in such conditions? The point was made on television that such properties should not be rented out.”
This is the second time the council has been criticised for the practice after it emerged it had also collected funds from another property in Willesden Lane that had been illegally converted.
Landlord Salah Ali, from Wembley, was fined £1.4million, believed to be the highest fine in the country for a planning offence.
A Brent Council spokesman said it was investigating the use of both properties.
He added: “Council tax is a charge on residents for local services and occupants must contribute towards the services they use – regardless of any planning issues.”