27 Oct 2022
A London landlord has been fined and ordered to pay a confiscation order for ignoring planning rules
Magistrates ordered landlord Zulfiqar Ahmed to pay a confiscation order of £251,582 as well as Waltham Forest council’s legal fees of £29,725, after he was found guilty of having failed to comply with a Planning Enforcement notice dating back to 2013.
Ahmed was also handed a fine of £16,000 reduced to £12,000 in recognition of a guilty plea.
With the penalty based on income generated by Ahmed’s unauthorised property portfolio, Judge A Gordon gave him three months to pay or face 30 months in prison, remarking that his offending “undermines the entire system of planning control”.
The result stemmed from the conversion of a commercial premises into two ground floor flats and an additional detached outbuilding without planning permission in Walthamstow.
The flats failed to meet minimum floor space requirements, with the second building especially being judged to be ‘poor quality accommodation.’
Two subsequent property licence applications by Ahmed alerted planning enforcement officers of his failure to comply with the original notices.
A court summons followed a site visit in May 2019, with the process further delayed by an unsuccessful Abuse of Process argument on the advice of Ahmed’s defence lawyers.
He changed his plea to guilty in March 2021.
A council spokesperson says: “Justice in this case was a long time coming, not aided by Mr Ahmed’s continued refusal to take responsibility for his actions. That said, the large penalty incurred represents a just result considering the seriousness of the crime.
“Let’s not forget Mr Ahmed made a hefty profit from the dishonest and deliberate provision of poor-quality housing. I hope this sends a message to any landlord in Waltham Forest prepared to take advantage of their tenants such a greedy and brazen manner.”
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