From warehouse to full house

When Yousuf Anwar and his family invested in a derelict warehouse on the corner of a residential street in 2012, they did not fully realise the extent of the challenge ahead of them.

Their dream was to convert the two storey building into flats. But finances, planning details, lack of experience and even squatters prevented them from taking action, and the building in Franklyn Road remained empty - writes

For three years they were left wondering if they would ever be able to turn their purchase into a profit, until they attended the landlord forum at Brent Civic Centre.

“Meeting the grants team at Brent Council made the whole process fall in place,” said Yousuf. “The talk from the council’s empty properties officer, Jacqueline Connerky, was enlightening. The empty properties team encouraged us and demonstrated how they could help us achieve our ambitions. With Mirella Marmitte’s help (Empty Property Officer), the development ended up being the most successful project that I have been involved with so far in my life.”

Yousuf, 25, was awarded a substantial empty property grant to turn the derelict warehouse into self-contained apartments: four one-bed, two two-bed and two three-bed flats. Since May last year, the eight flats have been rented out through the council to families and managed by Network Homes on a 10-year extended lease.

“Anyone with an empty property should have no doubt about contacting Brent Council,” Yousuf added. “The team provides exceptional management and is committed to helping throughout the process.”

Mirella said: “I was able to support Yousuf and his family to understand the process, through to renovation and completion, with regular contact and site inspections.”

If you have an empty property and would like to apply for a grant or need help to bring it back into use email .

Read more news of London on the city guide.

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