Islington landlords ordered to pay over £115,000 for breaching planning rules
Two north London landlords who breached planning regulations by converting a house into seven studio flats have been ordered to pay a total of £116,000 following legal action by Islington Council.
The council had previously asked Mr Efstratios Filis-Gelagotis and Mr Andreas Charalambous to cease using a property in Benwell Road, London N7 as studios, after it was found that it had been converted without proper planning permission.
Islington Council’s planning enforcement notice, issued in December 2013, required the unauthorised use of the single-family dwelling to studio flats to cease within six months.
However, the flats continued to be let out, despite further warning letters from the council, so a decision was taken to prosecute. On 12 October 2015 Mr Filis-Gelagotis and Mr Charalambous pleaded guilty to failure to comply with the enforcement notice.
At a hearing on 11 March 2016 at Blackfriars Crown Court, Mr Filis-Gelagotis and Mr Charalambous were ordered to pay a fine of £5,000 each and legal costs of £4,000 each. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, they were also ordered to pay £49,000 each (a total of £98,000), representing the amount they had made from renting out the flats between July 2014 and October 2015.
Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, Cllr James Murray, said:
“Planning regulations are put in place because they provide important protection to local residents.
“Ultimately, landlords who ignore planning law face losing months or even years of rental income and this can be, as in this case, a very large amount of money.“
The property has since been converted to a six-bedroom house in multiple occupation, after planning permission was granted in October last year.
Landlords and property owners who would like guidance on how to meet current legislation can call Islington Council on 0207 527 3001 or can visit www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/islington.