Landlord who illegally converted Cricklewood house into NINE flats is fined £700k
PUBLISHED: 14:03 30 September 2016 | UPDATED: 14:03 30 September 2016
A greedy landlord who illegally converted a Cricklewood house into NINE substandard flats despite being refused planning permission has been ordered to pay £700,000 or face jail.
Saied Rahmdezfouli subdivided the semi-detached property in Quantock Gardens and rented the undersized and poorly designed rooms to desperate tenants.
Wood Green Crown Court heard Barnet Council had rejected a planning application from him in September 2006 to convert the property into nine flats but he went ahead with the changes.
In 2007 the council issued him with an enforcement order which he ignored and he continued to rent out the flats despite the town hall following up with legal action.
Despite making a string of court appearances he refused to stop renting the flats.
A lengthy and complex investigation led by the council’s planning and Corporate Anti-Fraud Teams (CAFT) calculated he had made £555,954.49 from the rent on the property.
Last week a confiscation order made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 requires him to pay back every penny, a £65,000 fine for the planning offences and £80,000 in costs.
The sum must be paid back within three months or he faces a default prison sentence of five years and four months.
The fine is the highest ever issued to a landlord in the borough of Barnet.
The property has been restored to a family home.
Cllr Richard Cornelius, leader of Barnet Council, 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.
“The Proceeds of Crime Act is there to ensure that crime doesn’t pay, which is why we have a dedicated team who are able to carry this type of complex investigation for the council in collaboration with our partners.
“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.”