House illegally converted into flats for the second time costs owner nearly £80,000

Thursday, May 2nd, 2024 - Barking & Dagenham Council

A landlady who illegally converted her property into two separate flats and continued to ignore planning enforcement notices issued by Barking and Dagenham Council has been found guilty in court.

In 2015 Planning Enforcement Officers from the east London council became aware that a five-bedroom property in Fanshawe Crescent, Dagenham had been sub-divided to form two separate flats without acquiring the necessary planning permission.

As a result, an Enforcement Notice, under the Town & Country Planning Act, was issued to the owner Titilola Oyejole prohibiting the use as two separate units of accommodation and requiring it to be restored to a single dwelling.

An appeal against the notice to the Planning Inspectorate was unsuccessful and the notice should have been complied with by April 2016.

In November 2016, officers from the council’s Special Investigations Team visited the premises and found that it remained two self-contained flats with tenants in one of the flats and the other being occupied by the owner.

Oyejole was summoned to Snaresbrook Crown Court on 4 July 2018 where she was ordered to pay a fine of £200, council costs of £4,203 and a victim surcharge of £30. Additionally, a Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act was made in the sum of £19,784. The total amount was £24,217.

Following the court date, work was carried out at the property and it was returned to the original five-bedroom property.

Further planning breaches uncovered in 2018

In May 2018, Ms Oyejola applied to the council for a property licence to rent the property out. As the Enforcement Notice remains in perpetuity a Planning Enforcement Officer attended the inspection with the Private Sector Housing Team.

The officers found that, despite Ms Oyejola’s previous conviction, the property had once again been divided into two units of accommodation by installing a locked door where the first-floor wall had been opened through.

One of the flats was occupied by tenants and the other by the owner.  The officers found that the tenant’s flat was in poor condition with water ingress and rodent infestation and as a result, Improvement Notices were issued.

On 12 September 2023, Oyejola appeared at Barkingside Magistrates Court and pleaded not guilty to the three alleged offences:  

  • Failing to comply with the requirements of the planning enforcement notice.
  • Failing to comply with two notices concerning the condition of the property. 
  • Having a rodent infestation.

The Magistrates found Oyejola guilty on all three counts.

Ms Oyejola attended Snaresbrook Crown Court on Wednesday 10 April 2024, where she was ordered to pay a fine of £7,500 for the Town & Country Planning offence, £500 for each of the Improvement Notice offences as well as costs to Barking and Dagenham Council of £4,920.50.

Additionally, a Proceeds of Crime Act Confiscation Order was made in the sum of £51,983.24 which is to be paid within three months with a sentence of 15 months imprisonment if she defaults.

In total Ms Oyejola will need to pay out a total of £78,620.

Gary Jones, Operational Director, Enforcement, Regulatory and Community Safety, Barking & Dagenham Council said: 

This case shows that we always take necessary steps to safeguard tenants making sure that landlords do not benefit financially from illegal activity.

 “This is a fantastic result and shows the importance of collaborative working across the service. I would like to thank everyone involved who have helped achieve this and protect private tenants.

Our free guide containing more information about property licensing and HMO planning restrictions in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham is available here.

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