Rogue landlords who converted terrace houses into shoebox flats without planning permission have been ordered to re-pay illegal income or face prison.
Harrow Crown Court heard last week how Mohammad Ishaq, 68, and his wife, Shamim Akhtar, 66, both of Clifford Way, Neasden, had received £322,282 in rental income from terrace houses, at Glynfield Road and Belton Road, that had been converted into a total of 18 tiny flats without planning consent.
The confiscation order was made on 12 December under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 at the court where it was ruled that the couple, which pleaded guilty to the planning offences at Willesden Magistrates Court in May, before being referred to Harrow Crown Court for confiscation and sentencing, must pay back the illegal income, following a prosecution by Brent Council.
On top of the confiscation order, the landlords were each fined £10,000 for their failure to comply with planning enforcement notices on properties they own in Willesden and Harlesden. They were also ordered to pay the Council's costs.
They subsequently lost appeals against Brent's enforcement notices, which ordered them to undo the works. Despite written warnings from the Council, they ignored the problem and failed to comply with the notices for several years.
In passing the sentence, Judge Dean said: “The London borough of Brent is very assiduous about prosecuting these cases.”
She also added that the breaches had caused harm to both the surrounding community and to the occupants of the properties.
“I hope we can draw a line under this," she told the defendants. "As you'll continue to be landlords, I hope you now understand the importance of providing good quality properties.”
Cllr Tom Miller, Brent Council’s cabinet member for community safety, commented: “These individuals showed a blatant disregard for planning rules by renting out shoddy accommodation and have now paid the price. Once again, Brent has shown that ignoring enforcement notices simply doesn’t pay.”