A landlord who tried to conceal a ‘beds in sheds’ outbuilding has been ordered to take the structure down.
Brent Council used new planning laws to force the landlord to destroy the building, which previously he would have been allowed to keep.
Virendra Patel, 58, of Valley Drive, Kingsbury, legally built the standalone structure in his back garden – ostensibly as a store or gym – but then let it out to a family of six in breach of planning rules.
The building was discovered by the council in January last year during a crackdown on so-called ‘beds in sheds’. Patel claimed it was more than four years old, which would normally mean it was immune from enforcement action.
However, under the Localism Act, Brent applied for a planning enforcement order from the magistrates’ court, which overrides the four-year rule if the illegal structure has been deliberately concealed from the authorities.
District Judge Cooper, sitting at Hendon Magistrates’ Court, granted the order on Thursday last week and told Mr Patel to demolish the building and pay £11,703 in legal costs.
The judge ruled there had been a ‘deliberate concealment’ of the dwelling and the case is believed to be one of the first planning enforcement orders issued in London.
Patel had challenged the application, telling the court that he had not deliberately concealed the fact that people were living there. He said he failed to realise the tenants had to pay council tax and it was a coincidence that people moved in just one month after the building certificate was granted.
Councillor George Crane (Labour), the council’s lead member for regeneration and major projects commented: “This is a fantastic result for the council and unscrupulous landlords who flout planning laws should take note.”