A landlord has received a record fine after illegally dividing a semi into nine flats. However, the case has dragged on for ten years and involved numerous court appearances.
Said Rahmdezfouli has now been ordered to pay over £700,000 at Wood Green Crown Court after he refused to take heed of the council’s refusal of an application to convert the property in 2006.
He ignored the refusal and proceeded to convert the property into rental properties, which the council said were sub-standard in both size and design.
Most of the money he has been ordered to pay – £555,954 – relates to his illegal profit. The rest relates to a £65,000 fine for planning offences and £80,000 in costs.
Barnet Council initially refused permission to convert the property in 2006, served a planning enforcement notice against him in March 2007 and then followed up with legal action.
Failure to pay up within three months will lead to a default prison sentence of five years and four months.
The Leader of Barnet Council, Cllr Richard Cornelius, said: “I am delighted that after a lengthy legal battle, the justice system has supported us in making sure that anyone who flouts our planning laws is suitably punished.
“Planning permission rules exist to ensure everyone in our borough has a safe and healthy place to live, and we cannot allow anyone to breach these rules by providing substandard accommodation.
“We will always do our best to ensure that this illegal activity is stopped as soon as possible.”
As the next two stories show, crackdowns against rogue landlords are on the increase.