News

Landlord must pay over £0.5 million for illegal property conversion in Maida Vale

Thursday, September 19, 2019 - Westminster Council

A landlord who divided his three-bedroom home in Marylands Road, Westminster into eight flats without planning permission, has been fined £90,000 and ordered to pay a confiscation order of £400,000.

The defendant, Mr Farook Owadally, was ordered to pay the heavy fine as well as £40,000 in costs after ignoring warnings from Westminster City Council’s planning team for over seven years. It is the biggest ever penalty for a planning offence in the central London borough.

He had illegally converted the basement, ground, first, second and third floors of his Maida Vale property into eight tiny flats, raising huge profits without any planning permission.

Mr Owadally had been charging over £1,000 per month in rent for each of the ‘flats’ which, in most cases, were simply a small room.

The safety of those living in the illegal flats was a driving force behind the council’s prosecution as several did not meet the minimum size requirement of 37sqm for new one-bedroom flats. One was just 18 sqm.

Cllr Richard Beddoe, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Place Shaping and Planning said:

Unfortunately this is a straightforward case of the law catching up with an unscrupulous person.

Our planning teams aren’t just ticking boxes and filling in forms for fun – we have planning rules for a reason, to make sure housing is fit for purpose and safe.

We’ve made it our top priority to create more affordable homes for hardworking people and we’re on track to build a at least 1,850 of them by 2023.

Enforcement notices dating back to January 2012 requested that the defendant remove the flats built into the property, demolish a third-floor extension, and return the property to its former condition as a shop with maisonette above.

Southwark Crown Court heard how the defendant had made no attempts to engage with planning officers and, in particular the notices to stop using the flats, so that he could continue to profit over an extended period of time.

Following the court ruling, Mr Owadilly has been given three months to pay the confiscation order, and six months to pay costs and fines to the courts. 

A free guide containing more detailed information about property licensing and HMO planning restrictions in the City of Westminster is available here.

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