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Courts order landlord to pay thousands for planning breach

Published Wednesday, 14 January 2015

A landlord who refused to revert six illegally converted bedsits back into a single property for more than seven years will be more than £138,000 out of pocket after he was prosecuted by Enfield Council.

Evangelos Evangelou, 38, of Oakleigh Avenue, Edgware, was sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court on 22 December after he pleaded guilty an offence under Section 171 B (2) of the town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Enfield Council officers had found in October 2010 that he had illegally converted a three bedroom house in Beaconsfield Road, Enfield Lock, into six self-contained units and ordered him to restore the property to its previous state, but Evangelou refused to comply with enforcement action for more than three years and he was subsequently prosecuted by the council.

He was ordered to pay a £7,500 fine, costs of £6,794.15, a £120 victim surcharge and was told to pay £125,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act to ensure he did not make a profit from illegally renting out the unauthorised conversion. If he does not pay the compensation within six months he faces a 27 month long prison sentence.

Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety, Cllr Chris Bond, said: "The planning process is there to ensure that new developments and conversions are safe, lawful and meet safety standards. Landlords cannot run amok and recklessly convert houses into multiple properties willy nilly and rent them out in order to make a quick buck, without expecting us to come after them.

"What compounds this matter is that after the defendant was ordered to convert the property back into its existing state, he refused, ignored planning enforcement notices and continued to rake in cash from his tenants. This judgement means he will have to pay all the profit he made illegally back, as well as a hefty fine and costs, proving categorically that crime does not pay.

"He will also have to put the building back in its original state, in fact he would have been well advised to have listened to our planning enforcement officers and gone through the proper planning process in the first place, because it would have saved him considerable time, effort and money."

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