Pay­back time – £140k rent will be con­fis­cated

Land­lord faces jail if prof­its not re­paid with­ing three months

Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette - - News - By Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­

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.”

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