Illegal basement conversion creating tiny flats results in hefty fine for Camberwell landlord

Monday, February 27th, 2023 - Southwark Council

A private landlord who breached planning rules at two properties on Maude Road in Camberwell has been ordered to repay £42,637.20 in illegal gains and a further £10,000 in fines and costs at an Inner London Crown Court hearing on 13 January 2023.

Mawan Musa, 63, of Maude Road, Camberwell squashed three tiny flats into the basement of one of his properties so he could collect rent from three households instead of one. Musa also added a haphazard and sub-standard rear window extension, on the roof of another property.

Neither of these developments had any planning permission. Following an investigation by Southwark Council’s planning enforcement team, a planning enforcement notice for the basement flats was first served on 4 February 2015. A further planning enforcement notice for the rear domer roof extension was served on 18 July 2016.

Southwark Council landlord prosecution - illegal dormer roof extension

Despite unsuccessful planning appeals, Musa still failed to comply and further inspections in 2018 and 2020 led to legal proceedings.

Musa pleaded guilty to the offences at Croydon Magistrates Court on 21 June 2021. Legal proceedings then continued to recover his ill-gotten gains.

The Court agreed that Musa had illegally gained £42,637.20 in rent, after reviewing financial investigations carried out by the council’s trading standards team.

Cllr James McAsh, Southwark’s Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Sustainable Development, said:

Everyone deserves a good quality place to live. Planning rules and space standards make sure that new developments are good quality and a decent size.

This was a shameless attempt to shoehorn three tiny flats into one basement, along with an illegal roof extension. This outcome serves as a warning that we will not tolerate planning breaches. It also supports us in cracking down on those who try to benefit from renting illegal and sub-standard properties in Southwark.

According to Southwark Council, the planning breaches identified at the properties have since been resolved.

Our free guide containing more information about property licensing and HMO planning rules in the London Borough of Southwark is available here.

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