Southall landlord who breached planning rules ordered to pay £300,000 or face imprisonment
A landlord from Southall who ignored six enforcement notices served by Ealing Council has been ordered to pay more than £300,000.
On 23 September 2020, Salim Mussa Patel of Norwood Road, Southall appeared at Isleworth Crown Court for ignoring a total of six planning enforcement notices served on properties that he owned in the Southall area.
Since 2010, the landlord had been renting a number of flats and outbuildings that did not have planning permission. In fact, between 2010 and 2015, Ealing Council served a total of 18 planning enforcement notices on properties owned by Mr Mussa Patel in the Southall area. It included properties illegally converted into flats and the use of rear outbuildings as further self-contained residential units.
In April 2017, planning enforcement officers and police raided six of these properties in Beaconsfield Road, Lady Margaret Road, Regina Road and his business premises on Norwood Road under warrant and found multiple breaches of the enforcement notices.
At one address in Beaconsfield Road, officers found a family of four living in an outbuilding, all of whom were sleeping in a single room in a double bunk bed. The children slept in the top bunk, where loose electrical wiring had been taped to the ceiling to prevent it hanging over their bed. The room itself was riddled with damp and mould. At another address they found a total of 18 people living in a converted three-bedroom dwelling.
The council started prosecution proceedings against Mr Mussa Patel following the visits and in October 2017 he pleaded guilty at Ealing Magistrates’ Court to the offences.
The matter was then referred to Isleworth Crown Court for confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act because Mr Mussa Patel had received significant rental income for the unlawful flats and outbuildings once the enforcement notices had become effective.
On 23 September 2020 the court made a confiscation order for the sum of £207,000.
Mr Mussa Patel was also fined £50,000 and made to pay the council’s costs amounting to £49,198. He has been given three months to pay the confiscation order or face three years’ imprisonment in default. He has six months to pay the fine and the council’s costs.
The enforcement notices for each of the six properties have now been complied with.
Councillor Joanna Camadoo-Rothwell, the council’s cabinet member for community safety, said:
“Mr Mussa Patel was clearly determined to breach the planning rules for his own gain, as demonstrated by his decision to illegally rent the outbuilding at his property in Beaconsfield Road and subsequent non-compliance with the six enforcement notices he was served.
“Failure to comply with planning enforcement notices is a criminal offence which will be investigated and punished accordingly. Landlords must ensure that they have relevant planning permission for major changes of any sort to their property.“
A free guide containing more detailed information about property licensing and HMO planning rules in the London Borough of Ealing is available here.
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