The London Borough of Lambeth has secured a £382,000 confiscation order against a landlord who converted a property into flats without planning permission.
Gilbert Garrick had rented the property in Harpenden Road, West Norwood, as flats despite being warnings from the council that he was breaching planning controls and contravening its planning policies.
Garrick was initially served with a notice requesting he cease using the property as flats. His appeal against the notice was dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate.
However, he then continued to ignore the notice, resulting in Lambeth officers seeking a prosecution for non-compliance.
After a number of court hearings, Garrick eventually pleaded guilty and the matter was referred to Croydon Crown Court for confiscation proceedings.
Garrick was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay the council’s costs of £15,000 in addition to the confiscation order. He has three months to pay the sums in full and could face a prison sentence if he fails to do so.
Lambeth said it was due to receive one third of the confiscation order and would use this sum to fund further work in the area.
It said its planning enforcement and legal teams had worked with financial investigators from Brent council on the case, and this was their third successful award, “with more in the pipeline”.
Cllr Matthew Bennett, Lambeth’s cabinet member for Housing, said: “Lambeth takes a hard line against rogue landlords who try to make a quick buck out of the housing crisis.
“This landlord will have to pay over £400k in fines and could face prison after ignoring the council’s early warning.
“Let this be a lesson to anyone else who thinks they can cheat their way to a profit – Lambeth will always pursue rogue landlords through the courts to protect our residents from exploitation.”