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Landlord handed £75K confiscation order after admitting planning breaches

A landlord who illegally split two houses into flats has been ordered to pay a London council £75,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

David Dahan, 65 of Hillcrest Gardens, Finchley, had converted properties in Cricklewood and Golders Green into flats and failed to comply with planning enforcement notices issued by Barnet Council.

The council had issued a planning enforcement notice over a property at The Drive in Golders Green in February 2011, after an officer found that an extension was being built that was beyond the size approved by planning permission.

The notice required the modification or demolition of the extension. But on a return visit the officer discovered that it had been finished and turned into flats.

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The property at Garth Road in Cricklewood was meanwhile found to have been converted into 11 flats without planning permission. Dahan failed to make changes required in an enforcement notice served in February 2012.

An investigation by Barnet’s Corporate Anti-Fraud Team revealed that the defendant had been receiving £5,000 a month unlawfully from renting out the properties (on top of the £5,000 a month he was receiving lawfully).

At Harrow Crown Court, Dahan pleaded guilty to two planning breaches.

Recorder Bourne fined him £4,000 for the planning breaches (or £2,000 per offence) and £7,000 in costs.

The recorder also ordered Dahan to pay the council £75,636 under the Proceeds of Crime Act within six months.

Dahan faces a custodial sentence of up to two years if he fails to repay the money within the time frame.

Cllr Richard Cornelius, Barnet’s Leader, said: “Mr Dahan showed a blatant disregard for the planning process and made a tidy profit over a number of years from illegally renting these properties out.

“I hope the confiscation of his ill-gotten gains serves as a warning to others that we can, and will, come after anyone who we learn has profited from the proceeds of crime.”

The extension at The Drive has since been reduced to a single storey extension and now complies with planning regulations, Barnet said.

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