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London borough secures nearly half a million pounds in confiscation orders against private sector landlords

Ealing Council has this month obtained confiscations orders worth nearly £500,000 from private sector landlords who failed to comply with planning enforcement notices.

In the first case, landlord Anja Bawa of Ferrymead Avenue was ordered to pay almost £275,000 for failing to comply with an existing planning enforcement notice regarding planning issues at a property in Greenford.

She was served with the notice in February 2016 by officers from Ealing’s planning enforcement team after it was discovered that she had overseen the construction of an outbuilding at the rear of the property.

The outbuilding was rented and being used as a separate dwelling, for which Mrs Bawa did not have the required planning permission.

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The council said that when officers visited the dwelling, it was found to be inadequate. “The living space was cramped, of poor quality and not fit for purpose as a residential property.”

The enforcement notice required Mrs Bawa to cease using the outbuilding as a residential rental dwelling and she was given three months to comply.

She pleaded guilty at Ealing Magistrates’ Court for failing to comply with the enforcement action taken against her. The case was then referred to Isleworth Crown Court for a confiscation order to be considered under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

The court applied a confiscation order of £243,950.48 which must be paid by 2 December 2021. A default prison sentence of two-and-a-half-year was given if Mrs Bawa fails to pay.

At a further court hearing on 8 October 2021 Mrs Bawa was sentenced to a fine of £8,000 and was ordered to pay full costs of £23,496.28.

Cllr Shital Manro, whose portfolio at Ealing covers planning policy, said: “This is a great result for Ealing as it shows that we will take robust action not only to prevent those who provide poor quality housing but against those ignore planning law and our enforcement notices.”

In the second case, Mr Kartar and Mrs Surinder Khosa were ordered to pay more than £290,000 after they failed to comply with a planning enforcement notice issued by Ealing in relation to a property in Southall.

The notice was served after officers from the local authority’s planning enforcement team discovered that the defendants had neglected to obtain the required planning permission to use the main property as a large House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) and the outbuilding in the rear garden as a self-contained residential dwelling. 

Ealing said that when officers visited the property, it was found that the occupants were living in cramped conditions, with a lack of adequate communal space inside the property and inadequate parking and provision for rubbish disposal for the number of tenants.

The enforcement notice required Mr and Mrs Khosa to cease using the rear outbuilding as a residential dwelling, to cease the use of the main dwelling as a Large HMO and to undertake some internal alterations to the property. The couple were given three months to comply with the notice.

Ealing’s planning officers secured a warrant to gain access to the property and undertake a compliance visit, which found that the use of the outbuilding had ceased, but that the main dwelling remained in use as a Large HMO and the necessary internal remedial works had not been undertaken.

After a successful prosecution was secured against Mr and Mrs Khosa, the case was then committed to Isleworth Crown Court for a confiscation order to be considered under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. This required them to prove that their income over the previous six years was legal.

Isleworth Crown Court ordered the defendants to pay a confiscation order in the sum of £253,449.07 by 3 December 2022. There is a default prison sentence of 30 months for Mr Khosa and 15 months for Mrs Khosa if they fail to pay.

The couple were also ordered to pay a fine of £6,000 each, plus court costs of £25,250.70.

Cllr Manro said: “Once again, this is a huge win for Ealing Council and shows that we will take action if landlords fail to comply with our planning enforcement notices.”

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