Owner Heavily Fined For Illegal House Conversion
Property in Hanwell was let out as three flats
The owner of an illegally converted property in Hanwell has been fined and will also have to pay back £66,000 within six months under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
Dragan Milinkovic, converted his property in Cuckoo Dene, Hanwell into three sub-standard flats without planning permission five years ago.
The planning enforcement team issued a notice in 2011 requiring him to stop using the house as three flats. He failed to comply and, after issuing a letter of caution in January 2014, the council decided to prosecute him and apply for a confiscation order under the POCA.
Milinkovic appeared at Harrow Crown Court on Friday, 27 March. He received a fine of £2,700, and was ordered to pay the council’s court costs of £4,762 plus a victim surcharge.
The court also imposed a substantial confiscation order of £66,000 on him, which is a reflection of the money illegally obtained by continuing to rent the property as flats after the enforcement notice compliance date expired. This sum is collectable under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and is to be paid within six months, with 21 months imprisonment for non-payment.
During sentencing, HH Judge Donne QC noted he had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity but added: “Your offence is aggravated by the period of time in which you did not comply and the fact you ignored the caution letter.”
Pat Hayes, the council’s executive director, regeneration and housing, said: “The council provides lots of information on the regulations which must be followed when converting a building to ensure it is safe, habitable and does not impact on others. This landlord has not only not followed the regulations but he has also ignored a notice telling him to put things right.
“Mr Milinkovic was given every opportunity to make his property legal but out of greed chose to ignore the council, leaving us no option but to take legal action.
“I am pleased that a really significant fine of £66,000 has been imposed and hopefully this will deter others who think this type of offence only attracts a small penalty. I would also like to thank the council staff who pursued this case so diligently."
8th April 2015