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Couple fined £104,000 over illegal flats

A court has ruled that the owners of an illegally converted property in West London should pay more than £104,000 after failing to comply with an enforcement notice.

The order was made under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which is usually applied to seize profits made by criminals such as drug dealers.

The couple converted the property in Ealing into flats without planning permission, although they subsequently did apply following a warning from the Council. That application was refused and an appeal was dismissed.

An enforcement notice was then issued and this was also appealed, but this appeal was also dismissed and the couple were given six months to comply. However they did not, and not complying with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence.

Harrow Crown Court ordered fines of £5,000 each and costs of £11,000

The court also imposed a confiscation order of £83,000 to reflect the profits that had been made from renting out the flats after the compliance period had expired.

Pat Hayes, Ealing Council’s executive director for regeneration and housing said, “I cannot stress enough how important it is to obtain planning permission and follow regulations to ensure a property conversion is safe and legal”.

“As this case demonstrates, the Council will pursue anyone who flouts planning law and those found guilty could end up paying extremely stiff penalties”.

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