A rogue landlord has been ordered to pay nearly £500,000 after dividing his three-bedroom home into eight flats without planning permission.
Farook Owadally illegally converted the basement, ground, first, second and third floors of his Maida Vale property into eight tiny flats which in most cases were simply a small room. He had been charging over £1,000pm in rent for each.
Westminister City Council has fined him £90,000 and ordered him to pay a confiscation order of £400,000 and £40,000 in costs after ignoring warnings from the council’s planning team for over seven years. It is the biggest ever penalty for a planning offence in the central London borough.
Cllr Richard Beddoe, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Place Shaping and Planning said: “Unfortunately, this is a straightforward case of the law catching up with an unscrupulous person.
“Our planning teams aren’t just ticking boxes and filling in forms for fun – we have planning rules for a reason, to make sure housing is fit for purpose and safe.
“We’ve made it our top priority to create more affordable homes for hardworking people and we’re on track to build a at least 1,850 of them by 2023.”
The safety of those living in the illegal flats was a driving force behind the council’s prosecution as several did not meet the minimum size requirement of 37sqm for new one-bedroom flats. One was just 18 sqm.
Enforcement notices dating back to January 2012 requested that the defendant remove the flats built into the property, demolish a third-floor extension, and return the property to its former condition as a shop with maisonette above.
Southwark Crown Court heard how the defendant had made no attempts to engage with planning officers and, in particular the notices to stop using the flats, so that he could continue to profit over an extended period of time.
Owadilly has been given three months to pay the confiscation order, and six months to pay costs and fines to the courts.