Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Landlord hit with £1.4m fine after planning permission failure

A North London landlord has been fined a record £1.4 million for turning a house into 12 flats without planning permission, reported the Brent and Kilburn Times.

The fine was issued after Salah Ali illegally converted a property on Willesden Lane into 21 separate flats despite not having planning permission to do so.

Mr Ali has been ordered to pay a total of £1.438 million within six months or face being sent to jail for 10 years, Norwich Crown Court Heard.

The London Borough of Brent have described that order, made using powers available to local authorities to recover the proceeds of crime, is believed to be the highest ever confiscation order granted for a planning offence anywhere in the UK.

Having reportedly ignored planning laws for the last 10 years, the fine represents rent Mr Ali has received from the tenants in the house.

The landlord was also ordered to pay a fine of £4,000 for a breach of planning regulations, as well as facing legal costs of almost £35,000, following a two-year investigation by the council.

A restraint order has also been placed on Mr Ali to prevent him from disposing of his assets before fulfilling his obligations to pay the £1.438 million fine levied against him.

The local authority, Brent council, will receive 37.5 per cent of the money once obtained, with the rest going to the Treasury and the court collection agency.

The news comes in light of the title’s report into the council’s proposed clampdown on landlords who housed tenants in illegal extensions, known as ‘Beds in Sheds’.

Chris Walker, Assistant Director of planning and major projects at Brent Council, told the Times: “This landlord ignored planning rules designed to ensure that the quality of accommodation in the boroughs is maintained and that the environment for surrounding residents is protected.

“He ignored the council’s notices and as a result, he profited hugely from this sub-standard accommodation.”

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