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Landlord ordered to pay £280k after breaching enforcement notices on flats

A landlord who built an outbuilding and converted it into six small flats without planning permission has been ordered to pay more than £280,000.

Islington Council first served an enforcement notice at the building in relation to the rear of 201 Hornsey Road in 2009.

The notice required the owner, David Kohali, to stop using the building as self-contained flats, and to remove the kitchens and bathrooms for each unit.

The local authority granted planning permission in 2010 but only for storage. However, the flats continued to be used.

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The landlord failed to comply with a second enforcement notice issued by the council. He also lost an appeal against the notice to the Planning Inspectorate.

Islington launched prosecution proceedings in December 2013 and Kohali subsequently admitted one count of failing to comply with an enforcement notice, contrary to s. 179 of the Town and Country Planning Act.

A judge at Blackfriars Crown Court last month fined the defendant £190,000, made a confiscation order of £76,562.07 and ordered him to pay the council's costs of £15,042.50.

The confiscation amount is due to be paid within 28 days and the rest within three months. Failure to pay could lead to imprisonment.

The flats have now been removed from the outbuilding.

The case was the first time that the London Borough of Islington had applied for a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act relating to money made by illegally renting out unauthorised units.

Cllr James Murray, Islington's executive member for housing and development, said:  "More and more people in Islington are renting privately - and the housing crisis is so bad that desperate tenants are vulnerable to being exploited by rogue landlords.

"We want to make sure people have decent places to live - not places like these six small, sub-standard flats crammed into an outbuilding.  The owner's decision to cram in these flats was done without planning permission, and our requests to comply with an enforcement notice were repeatedly ignored.”

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