Wembley landlord ordered to pay £144,000 for renting out illegally converted properties
The landlord of two properties in Wembley has been ordered to pay £144,000 for illegally converting properties into multiple rented units without planning permission.
Ms Orofena St. John, built a number of extensions onto a family house in Clarendon Gardens, Wembley and converted the property into seven flats and two bedsits, all without planning permission.
Two planning enforcement notices were served in 2017 requiring that the extensions be demolished and the property converted back into one house.
Both planning enforcement notices were ignored and so Brent Council took the matter to court. In 2019, the landlord was convicted of breaching these notices and the matter was then referred to Harrow Crown Court under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
During the proceedings it was revealed that Ms St. John was also in breach of planning enforcement notice served on another property in The Paddocks, Wembley. This property had been illegally converted into two homes, with rooms being rented out to multiple students on a short-term basis without planning permission.
On 1 September 2021 at Harrow Crown Court, Ms St. John was ordered to pay £111,582.57 for the income received while illegally renting the properties to tenants. In addition, Ms St. John was fined £15,000 for the breach of the notices and ordered to pay £18,000 towards the council’s legal costs.
This successful prosecution was a true cross-council effort with special thanks to Brent’s Legal, Trading Standards, and Planning Enforcement teams.
Cllr Shama Tatler, Brent Council Lead Member for Regeneration, Property & Planning, said:
“This is a significant win for Brent. The council is committed to taking robust action to prevent the creation of substandard, poor-quality housing and badly designed and ugly extensions.
“The bottom line is that we will hold people to account who break planning laws, and create unlawful developments.
“This penalty sends a clear message that people will not be allowed to get away with ignoring planning laws and renting out properties illegally.
“These laws are in place to protect our residents from being exploited in inferior accommodation and to ensure that Brent’s environment is a great place for everyone to live.“
A free guide containing more detailed information about property licensing and HMO planning rules in the London Borough of Brent is available here.
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