The London Borough of Ealing this month won the Enforcement Award at the Planning Awards 2015 for the Outhouse Project that it runs in partnership with law firm Ivy Legal.
The project seeks to tackle the problem of sub-standard outbuilding conversions being used as dwellings.
The partnership also aims to consider the interests of residents of so-called "beds in sheds" as well as broader community interests and to encourage more responsible behaviour by landlords through a rigorous system of inspections, as well as contravention and enforcement notices.
Between January 2014 and the council’s award submission, 101 enforcement notices were issued for outbuildings used as dwellings in Ealing, typically requiring demolition or cessation of dwelling use. Some 48 were appealed, with 22 decided. The borough’s overall success rate on the appeals was 86%.
The award judges described the Outhouse Project as "an excellent example of a multi-agency approach to tackling a serious, environmentally and socially damaging misuse of property". They praised Ealing for ensuring that "the needs and future of displaced persons are taken into account and actioned”.