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Carve-up landlord hit with £5k fine

The robust and consistent approach of Waltham Forest Council’s Planning Enforcement officers to combat rogue landlords who carve up properties into flats without permission scored another success recently.

Mr Shiraz Akbar Khan of Woodbury Road, Walthamstow was prosecuted by the Council for an unauthorised conversion of a single dwelling at 29 Brewster Road, Leyton into two self-contained flats.

He was found guilty at Stratford Magistrates Court on 8 January and subsequently fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,558 and a Victim Surcharge of £120.

The trial had originally been scheduled for 22 October 2014, and Mr Khan’s no show at that time and inability to produce a medical certificate to cover his absence also led to the Court including £450 abortive costs within the Collection Order. Mr Khan has been given six months to pay all of the fine, costs and surcharge.

“It’s a really strong message to all landlords that here in Waltham Forest you follow the planning rules and regulations or you pay the price,” said Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment.

“We have some great housing stock in this borough and will not tolerate landlords simply looking to carve it up to provide as many flats as possible so that they can maximise the rent.

“We need to protect our larger properties in the borough to meet the needs of families and larger households and landlords need to respect the integrity of their properties and not simply see them as cash cows to be milked dry.”

In court Mr Khan, who was not legally represented, pleaded ‘Not Guilty’, but failed to impress District Judge Clarke. Having heard all the evidence, and taken into account Mr Khan’s means – given he runs a business letting out three properties – he suggested that Mr Khan could have and should have taken legal advice.

In September last year the Council brought into force an ‘Article 4 Direction’ on Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). The new policy stops landlords of single household properties carving them up into HMOs by removing ‘permitted development rights’, which would otherwise allow a landlord to change a property from a single dwelling to an HMO without having to get planning permission.

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