A buy-to-let landlord who converted a flat in London Bridge into ‘cramped bedsits’ without planning consent has been ordered to pay more than £1.1m.
Landlord Andre Charles Trepel is said to have made £1.2m in gross profit after dividing three flats into around 20 cramped bedsits and studios.
The council was successful in its £1.1m proceeds of crime order against the rogue landlord following a major clampdown.
Trepel was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £35,000 costs at Inner London Crown Court for breaching a planning enforcement notice, while his company No1 (London) Ltd was fined £1,000.
Trepel and his company have also been ordered to pay back £1,118,601 of his profits within three months, or face a seven-year prison sentence.
Under Proceeds of Crime Act rules, most of the money will go to the government.
But the council will get around £445,000 of the criminal benefit to re-invest in enforcement and crime reduction initiatives.
The council originally won a planning prosecution against Trepel, of Trinec in the Czech Republic, for his illegal conversion of the flats at 4-6 London Bridge Street in 2010.
The 74-year-old was fined and ordered to return the flats to their original condition.
Despite that, visits from council inspectors in 2015 and 2016 revealed little had been done to comply with the order – and further charges were brought in 2017.
The landlord was once again found guilty, but sentencing was deferred until an investigation could reveal how much profit he had made from renting out the illegally converted flats.
Cllr Victoria Mills, cabinet member for finance, performance and Brexit, said: “This council will not stand by and let our residents live in cramped properties that are harmful to their health and happiness, and we will use every legal measure at our disposal to ensure homes are of a decent standard and landlords do not profit from the misery of their tenants.”
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