Lambeth landlord ordered to pay £427,000 or face prison
A landlord has been ordered to pay £427,000 after converting a property into flats without permission.
Mr Gilbert Garrick rented the property in Harpenden Road, West Norwood, as flats despite being told that he was breaching planning controls and contravening Lambeth Council’s planning policies.
Garrick was initially served with an enforcement notice requesting he cease using the property as flats. He appealed against the notice and after a lengthy public enquiry, the planning inspectorate dismissed the appeal.
However Garrick continued to ignore the notice, resulting in council officers seeking a prosecution for non-compliance. After a number of court hearings, Garrick eventually pleaded guilty and the matter was referred to Croydon Crown Court for sentencing and confiscation proceedings.
Garrick was fined £30,000 for breaching the planning enforcement notice and ordered to pay the council’s costs of £15,000. He was also issued with a confiscation order of £382,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act. This equated to the amount he had effectively made from rental income on the unauthorised flats. He must now pay a total of £427,000.
Lambeth’s cabinet member for Housing, Cllr Matthew Bennett, said: “Lambeth takes a hard line against rogue landlords who try to make a quick buck out of the housing crisis.
“This landlord will have to pay over £400k in fines and could face prison after ignoring the council’s early warning.
“Let this be a lesson to anyone else who thinks they can cheat their way to a profit – Lambeth will always pursue rogue landlords through the courts to protect our residents from exploitation.“
Once paid, around a third of the £382,000 confiscation order will be handed to Lambeth council to fund further work in this area, with the rest going to the Home Office and the courts.
Garrick initially has three months to pay the sums in full and if he fails to comply, he could face a prison sentence.
Lambeth council’s planning enforcement and legal teams worked with financial investigators from Brent council on the case, and this is their third successful award, with more in the pipeline.