Immediately before the current lock down, Hounslow Council’s Planning Enforcement Team won its 17th prosecution. The case, at Ealing Crown Court, was brought against two unscrupulous landlords who were ordered to pay fines totalling over £6,000. The record 17 successful prosecutions in a year have together resulted in more than £600,000 being netted, all of which has been put back into the public purse.
In one case Zahid Malik, a Hammersmith based landlord, was fined for erecting and renting out a bed in shed type accommodation on London Road, Hounslow. In another, Hounslow based landlord Balkar Singh was found to have converted his property into two separate flats illegally, netting the council their biggest ever fine of £246,000.
Zahid Malik received a confiscation order totalling £135,000 requiring him to pay this figure within three months or face up to two years in prison. The judge also fined Malik £12,000 and ordered him to pay the Council’s costs in full totalling £7,500. Mr Malik was also required to remove his bed in a shed.
This follows on from another case in which Hounslow based landlord Balkar Singh from Nicholes Road, received a confiscation order in August last year totalling a quarter of a million pounds following his conviction for a serious planning offence. Mr Singh’s fine of £246,000, plus a separate fine of £8,000, plus the Council’s costs amounted to the biggest confiscation haul in Hounslow’s history.
In February 2008, Hounslow’s Planning Enforcement Officers served an enforcement notice against Mr Singh after he illegally converted his property into two separate flats. The notice required him to return the property to its intended use. Although Mr. Singh complied with the notice in 2009, sometime afterwards he converted the property back to two flats again.
Council officers together with Hounslow Police visited in 2016 and found one of the flats to be occupied by tenants who were paying Mr Singh £900 per month in rent. Mr Singh continued to ignore the enforcement notice and in 2018, at Isleworth Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to one offence contrary to the Town & Country Planning Act 1990.
Following his conviction the Council’s financial investigator pursued a confiscation investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. It was established that Mr Singh had a ‘criminal lifestyle’, as defined by the Act.
Criminal landlords and illegal extensions
In another case Gurdeep Gosal of 19 Raleigh Road, Southall was found guilty of two offences contrary to the Town & Country Planning Act, after renting out two illegally constructed outbuildings at his mother’s property. Mr Gosal failed to comply with an enforcement notice which required him to cease use of the outbuildings as self-contained units, and remove the works that had been carried out to enable the use of the outbuildings as residential units.
In two other cases, Teji Amraj Lal was fined £2,133 for erecting an illegal 35 square metre rear extension without planning permission and failing to demolish it after being warned to do so 5 years ago. The property is at 87 Vicarage Farm Road, Hounslow.
And at 54 Kingsley Road, Hounslow, two sisters who jointly owned a property partly used previously for the family’s Solicitors firm, were fined just over £5,000 when a rear extension was found not to have been demolished. A poorly constructed building made of breeze blocks with a poly carbonate sheeting roof and likely used partly as a residential unit was found.
Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council said:
“I would like to thank the Council’s Enforcement Team for their hard work and professionalism in bringing to book these criminal landlords. I’m delighted that we have successfully prosecuted these criminals and that they have been dealt with severely by the Courts. I hope this is a warning to all criminal landlords, we’re on to you and we will not hesitate to bring the full force of the law upon you to stop your criminal activities”.