Payback time – £140k rent will be confiscated
Landlord faces jail if profits not repaid withing three months
A HAYES landlord is being forced to pay back more than £140,000 in rent she obtained illegally after converting a house into flats without planning permission.
Surinder Kaur Sethi, 61, is the second person to be taken to court by Hillingdon Council recently after Akmal Hussain was fined £8,000 for building a huge extension without permission. The council’s planning enforcement officers discovered Sethi had converted a single occupancy house in Balmoral Drive into two self contained flats without seeking permission first.
Sethi, of Frogmore Avenue, raised £142,490 in rent but this money will now be confiscated after she was sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday November 16. If she fails to pay the money within three months she faces a year in jail. A three-bed semi- detached house in Balmoral Drive is worth around £400,000 according to property site Zoopla, and the road sits half a mile from the busy Uxbridge Road.
Grange Park Junior School is in nearby Lansbury Drive and Hayes Park School is half a mile away.
Defendant said she made a genuine mistake
Sethi argued that she had made a genuine mistake by assuming that separate council tax registration for the properties was the same as planning permission.
This was dismissed by the court.
Sethi was also fined £1,000 and forced to pay a £100 victim surcharge.
To subdivide a house into more than one unit a landlord must seek planning permission from the local authority.
A conversion such as this has to be approved under the Building Regulations and homeowners may also have to consult the fire service over issues like fire escapes.
Someone considering a conversion must also get a special licence for houses in multiple occupation.
Leader of the council, Ray Puddifoot, said: “This is a great result for Hillingdon Council.
“Our prosecution of Mrs Sethi and our planning enforcement and trading standards team’s investigation into her illegal activity has lead to her prosecution and the proceeds of her crime being recovered at sentencing. Hillingdon Council is committed to ensure that crime does not pay in this borough.”
ILLEGAL BUSINESS: Owner Surinder Kaur Sethi converted and rented out the flats at the Balmoral Drive house without planning permission