A quick-witted council officer foiled an attempt by ruthless squatters to sell off the home of a woman who had moved in with her elderly mother to give round-the-clock care.
Jasmine Fakir moved out of her house in Bacon Lane, Kingsbury, in north west London, to live with her ill mother in need of round-the-clock care.
Squatters saw her house was unoccupied, broke in, ransacked her belongings and put her house on the market through three estate agents.
But Brent Council Empty Property Case Officer Jaqueline Connerky (above, at the Civic Centre) became suspicious when neighbours reported the property to the council’s Empty Property hotline.
She managed to make contact with Jasmine and accompanied her on a visit to the house.
On arrival Jasmine was shocked to find the locks had been changed.
“I was petrified. I was shaking. A neighbour told us that estate agents had been round. Jacqueline then called a locksmith, and the police and told the estate agents what had happened. I couldn’t have done any of that on my own. It was Jacqueline’s perseverance with helping me that finally brought matters to a conclusion,” said Jasmine.
Jacqueline then helped Jasmine to sell her house.
“I worked with Jasmine and supported her through the whole process. The property was sold this year via Auction House and the new owners are considering applying to Brent for an empty property grant. The property would then be used to house a Brent family in need of a home,” said Jacqueline.
Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform, said: “Sadly, empty properties often attract fly-tipping, squatting and anti-social behaviour. We much prefer to support landlords with the assistance they need to bring properties back into use and tackle the housing crisis in our borough.”
If you have an empty property and want to apply for a grant, or need help and advice to bring it back into use, email the Empty Property team at [email protected] or call 020 8937 2384.