A judge has ordered a Brent landlord to pay the record sum of £1.438 million for turning a house into 12 flats without planning consent following a two year intensive investigation by Brent Council.
The sum must be paid within six months or the landlord will face a ten year prison sentence, a judge sitting at Norwich Crown Court ordered.
The order to pay the money follows a prosecution brought by planning enforcement officers from Brent Council against a landlord who had continuously flouted planning regulations in the borough for the last ten years.
Brent’s Planning Enforcement Team used powers that enable councils to seek to recover the ‘proceeds of crime’. The case related to the failure to comply with the requirements of a planning enforcement notice for a property on Willesden Lane which had been converted from one house into 12 flats.
The £1.438 million order is believed to be the highest confiscation order granted for a planning offence in the country and is based on the assumed benefit that the landlord received from breaching planning regulations.
The Wembley landlord was also ordered to pay a fine of £4000 for the breach of the planning regulations and legal costs of almost £35,000. Brent Council will receive 37.5 per cent of the money and the rest will go to the treasury and the court collection agency. A restraint order has been placed on the guilty man to prevent him from disposing of his assets before he fulfils his obligations and pays the £1.438 million.
Chris Walker Brent Council’s Assistant Director of Planning and Major Projects said: “This landlord ignored planning rules designed to ensure that the quality of accommodation in the boroughs is maintained and that the environment for surrounding residents is protected. He ignored the council’s notices and as a result, he profited hugely from this sub-standard accommodation.”
Cllr George Crane was interviewed on ITV News and the clip can be viewed from the video below.