A London landlord has been fined a whopping £400,000 after converting a property into flats and letting them without planning permission.
Mr Gilbert Garrick developed and rented out the property in Harpenden Road, West Norwood, as individual flats. This was despite warnings that he was breaching planning and building controls contravening Lambeth’s planning policies.
Garrick continued to ignore notices from the council, resulting in housing officers seeking a prosecution for non-compliance. After a number of court hearings, Garrick eventually pleaded guilty and was referred to Croydon Crown Court for confiscation proceedings.
He was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay the council’s costs of £15,000 and issued a had a confiscation order issued for £382,000 – the amount he had effectively made from rental income on the unauthorised flats.
Councillor Matthew Bennett, Lambeth Council’s cabinet member for Housing said:
“Lambeth takes a hard line against rogue landlords who try to make a quick buck out of the housing crisis.
“This landlord will have to pay over £400k in fines and could face prison after ignoring the council’s early warning.
“Let this be a lesson to anyone else who thinks they can cheat their way to a profit – Lambeth will always pursue rogue landlords through the courts to protect our residents from exploitation.”
Mr Garrick was initially served a notice by the council requesting he cease using the property as flats.
He subsequently appealed against the notice, and after a lengthy public enquiry the appeal was dismissed by the planning inspectorate.
The council has said that around a third of the £382,000 confiscation order will be retained by them to fund further work in this area, with the rest going to the Home Office and the courts.
Garrick has three months to pay the sums in full, failing which he faces a prison sentence. Lambeth council said its planning enforcement and legal teams worked with financial investigators from Brent council on this case, and this is their third successful award, with more to follow.
Record £400,000 Fine for London Landlord – https://t.co/NQbsuTx3II
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) October 21, 2015