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Company hit with £250,000 confiscation order following ‘blatant disregard for planning rules’

A company letting out an illegally converted house in North West London has been ordered to pay £250,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

The property, located in Wembley, has been converted into five self-contained flats, and an outbuilding had been constructed in the back garden. Additionally, it suffered from severe mould and fungus growth, putting the health of the residents at risk.

The council demolished the outbuilding, but the owner, company Minamax Ltd, continued to rent out the rooms in the primary property, leaving Brent Council with little alternative but to prosecute the company for breaches of planning law after they pleaded guilty at Willesden Magistrates Court.  

A confiscation order was obtained last week at Harrow Crown Court, with the £250,000 representing the rental income that the company had made. The company was also ordered to pay £20,000 in costs to Brent.

Under a Home Office Incentivisation Scheme Brent will receive approximately £90,000 when the order is paid and will use this money to fund future enforcement work.

Councillor Tom Miller, cabinet member for Stronger Communities, said: “This company showed a blatant disregard for planning rules and have now paid the price.  The court decision shows that companies will not get away with breaking the rules, even if they attempt to avoid detection by registering overseas.  We will continue to use all means at our disposal to protect the interests of our residents and communities.” 

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    Property investors should be aware of the risks posed when recommended to 'professionals' who might be able assist with funding auction or other property purchases. The recent strike off of Chelmsford property lawyer Mike Alexander for dishonesty serves as a warning to all not to take short cuts when seeking funding and putting in place security for that funding.
    Google 'Michael Alexander Struck Off Legal Futures' for more details.

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