Screwed to the wooden front door are the numbers “48” although there is a letterbox the post man is not able to deliver post to this house as it is in fact the front door of a shed which is located in the rear garden of a building currently used as bedsits and the only access to the shed is through the main building.
A Shed Called Home
This particular shed is called home by the occupant Maria and she has made it has comfortable as she can which she says is a huge improvement on the crowded HMO where she was previously living. Although very small the shed has a kitchen and a bathroom and whilst it does have electricity it does not have hot running water, when Maria needs to wash she has to boil water on the cooker, the garden shed has very little in the way of insulation and the only form of heating is a tiny electric fire.
There is not very much in the way of furniture and what is present is mostly broken, her bed is a filthy mattress on the floor. Maria is only just able to afford the £350 rent from her tiny wage packet. Her landlord, a Mr. McGuinness is well known to Newham council, and when their planning officials visited the shed Maria was huddled under a duvet trying to keep warm, she is asked if she feels the rent is acceptable she laughs “no I do not think so”.
Plenty Of Tennants
With the high property prices in London and the severe lack of affordable homes, sheds converted into bedsits have become increasingly common especially in boroughs such as Newham, landlords are forever coming up with new revenue streams however illegal they may be, and there is little to dissuade them from the beds in sheds practice as the these garden buildings with their lower rents are extremely sought-after by the lower end of the community.
In April, Grant Shapps the housing minister told the press that the government would be tackling the “Beds in sheds” epidemic with a nationwide task force which will look at the thousands of garden buildings often rented to illegal immigrants.