Islington Council has secured a confiscation order of £304,458 under the Proceeds of Crime Act against a property company which converted a single dwelling into five flats without planning permission.
The council said the order, which was handed down at Blackfriars Crown Court last month, was the largest ever for a planning enforcement case in its area.
Etek Developments (Tufnell Park) Limited, and its director, Eusebiu Sebastian Tudor, had pleaded guilty at Highbury Magistrates Court on 7 September 2017 for failure to comply with a planning enforcement notice served by the council in 2009.
The council considered that the flats at the company’s property, 180 Tufnell Park Road, provided inadequate and substandard residential accommodation, in contravention of its planning policies.
Despite warning letters to seek compliance with the enforcement notice, and regular reminders and clear instructions on what to do, Etek ignored the notice and continued to rent out the substandard accommodation, Islington said.
The company subsequently sought permission to reduce the number of flats in the property to three self-contained units, which was granted, but the conversion did not take place and the company allowed the planning permission to lapse, continuing to rent out the five flats that had been created without permission.
Etek was fined £8,000 in addition to paying £304,458 under the Proceeds of Crime Act, and Etek’s director Eusebiu Tudor was also fined £12,000. Etek and Mr Tudor were together ordered to pay the council’s costs of £9,948.44, along with a £15 surcharge.
Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said: “We are delighted with the result of this case - the council’s planning policies are clear and are there to protect residents. Everyone deserves a decent home to live in.
“This case should serve as a warning to landlords considering flouting planning laws – Islington Council will not tolerate this and will take legal action where necessary.”