A landlord has been ordered to pay more than £400k after converting a property into flats without permission.
Mr Gilbert Garrick rented the property in Harpenden Road, West Norwood, as flats despite being told that he was breaching planning controls and contravening Lambeth’s planning policies.
He eventually pleaded guilty in court and was fined £30,000, ordered to pay the council’s costs of £15,000 and issued a confiscation order of £382,000 – the amount he had effectively made from rental income on the unauthorised flats.
Lambeth’s cabinet member for Housing, Cllr Matthew Bennett, 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.”
Garrick was initially served a notice requesting he cease using the property as flats. He appealed against the notice, and after a lengthy public enquiry the appeal was dismissed by the planning inspectorate.
However Garrick continued to ignore the notice, resulting in council 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.
Once paid, around a third of the £382,000 confiscation order will be handed to Lambeth council to fund further work in this area, with the rest going to the Home Office and the courts.
Garrick initially has three months to pay the sums in full and if he fails to comply, he could face a prison sentence.
Lambeth council’s planning enforcement and legal teams worked with financial investigators from Brent council on the case, and this is their third successful award, with more in the pipeline.