Property developer who illegally converted Ealing property into flats receives confiscation order exceeding one million pounds

Monday, February 26th, 2024 - Ealing Council

A property developer has been hit with a £1.44million penalty under the Proceeds of Crime Act after he continually broke planning rules and then refused to follow legal orders.

Ali Bahbahani, of no fixed address, has been ordered to pay £1,283,444 for converting a home to create flats, including an extension, in Waldegrave Road, Ealing, without planning permission. He also failed to comply with orders to cease the use and demolish the unauthorised extensions. Ealing Council secured the confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act because Mr Bahbahani then profited illegally from renting the flats.

Mr Bahbahani, who lives overseas, failed to appear for the hearing at Isleworth Crown Court on 25 January. As part of the confiscation order, the council will be recovering more than £16,000 in unpaid council tax and business rate bills. 

Over the last 10 years the council has issued multiple court applications to have the property restored to its original condition. The case was heard before a number of courts before being concluded at Isleworth Crown Court in January. It was revealed during court proceedings that someone impersonating Mr Bahbahani had attended the initial hearings, adding to the delay.

Ealing Council’s head of legal services, Justin Morley, said: 

This is quite a remarkable case, given the size of the confiscation order. It reflects not only the time and hard work that officers invested in this case, but also the commitment to go through the proper legal channels.

The council is working with the management receiver, appointed by the court, to recover all its costs.

Councillor Shital Manro, Ealing’s cabinet member for good growth and new housing, said:

This was a flagrant abuse of the planning system. You must make sure you have planning permission for major changes of any sort to your property. Failure to do so will result in court action and, as we have seen, can be very costly.”The property in Waldegrave Road has now been bought by a new owner and the council is working with them to finally resolve the illegal building works that were carried out on the property.

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