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News: Record fine issued to London landlord over planning offence

Mon, 27 Sep 21

A landlord who built extensions and converted them into flats and bedsits all without planning permission has been given a record fine after a council took her to court.

Two enforcement notices were issued to  Orofena St John in 2017 requiring that the extensions be demolished and the premises be converted back to one house. 

Both orders were ignored and Brent council in London claims it had no option other than to take the matter to court. 

The landlord was convicted of breaching these notices in 2019 and the matter was then referred to Harrow Crown Court under the Proceeds of Crime Act. 

During the proceedings it was revealed that St John was also in breach of another enforcement notice issued to a separate property. This had similarly been illegally converted into two homes, with rooms being rented out to multiple students on a short term basis without permission. 

St John was ordered to pay £111,582.57 for the income received from illegally renting the properties to tenants for a profit. In addition she was fined £18,000 in council legal costs and £15,000 for the breach of the notices. 

The penalty is the largest secured this year by the council.

A spokesperson for Brent council says: “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.”

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