Landlord to pay council £75,000 after illegally splitting houses into flats
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Legal, Local Government
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A businessman who earned a monthly income of £5,000 from illegally splitting two houses into flats has been ordered to pay Barnet Council £75,000.
David Dahan, 65, of Finchley, pleaded guilty to two planning breaches after dishonestly converting his properties in Garth Road, Cricklewood, and The Drive, Golders Green, into flats and repeatedly failing to comply with planning enforcement notices.
Following an investigation by the council’s corporate anti fraud team (CAFT) officers, it was discovered that Dahan was receiving an income of £5,000 per month from the illegal flats. This was in addition to the £5,000 per month he was receiving on lawful rental income for the properties.
The CAFT team applied for a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act before Harrow Crown Court, where Dahan was also sentenced for the planning offences.
He must pay the council £75,636 within six months or face a custodial sentence of up to two years.
Dahan was also fined £4,000 for the planning breaches, £2,000 per offence and ordered to pay the council’s costs of £7,000.
Council leader councillor Richard Cornelius said: “Mr Dahan showed a blatant disregard for the planning process and made a tidy profit over a number of years from illegally renting these properties out.
“I hope the confiscation of his ill-gotten gains serves as a warning to others that we can, and will, come after anyone who we learn has profited from the proceeds of crime.”
The court was told that planning officers visited both properties after receiving complaints from members of the public.
At The Drive an officer discovered work had started on an extension which went beyond the size approved by planning permission. A planning enforcement notice was issued in February 2011, and Dahan was ordered to modify the extension or demolish it.
But when an officer returned he found the extension had been finished and converted into flats.
At Garth Road it was discovered the house had been divided into 11 flats without planning permission. An enforcement notice was served in February 2012 and Dahan was ordered to remove the kitchen areas from all but one room and showers and toilets from all but two rooms.
However, the court was told that Dahan failed to make any changes and the house was still divided into flats on further visits. The extension at The Drive has since been reduced to a single storey building and now complies with planning regulations.
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