London landlord fined

A London landlord who divided his 3-bedroom house into 8 flats without planning permission has been fined £90,000 and ordered to pay a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act of £400,000.

In addition to the fine and confiscation order the landlord was also ordered to pay £40,000 in costs. The landlord converted his basement, ground, first, second and third floors of his property into 8 tiny flats charging some £1000.00 per month for each flat. The minimum planning size requirement for a new one-bedroom flat is 37sqm however it is understood that these flats were no larger than 18sqm.

Enforcement for this planning breach began in 2012. The landlord was requested to remove the flats, demolish a third-floor extension and return the property into its former condition as a shop with maisonette above. However, the landlord ignored warnings from the council and made no attempt to engage with planning officers.

This is reported to be the biggest penalty for a planning offence in Westminster. The fact that the landlord refused to engage with the council has no doubt contributed to the court’s decision when imposing the fines, costs and confiscation orders.