Financial penalties totalling close to £80,000 have been imposed on two landlords found to be illegally renting out converted flats for more than eight years.
Multan Singh, 56, and Mrs Jagir Kaur, 51, converted a four-bedroom apartment in Rowallen Parade, Dagenham, into two separate two-bed flats in 2009 and applied for retrospective planning permission in January 2012, which the local authority rejected.
Barking & Dagenham Council then issued an enforcement notice to cease using the property as two separate flats and to remove all the relevant fittings and alterations from the original conversion, but inspections four years later in October 2016 and January 2017 revealed the property was still being rented to two families as separate flats.
Both failed to respond to council letters or to cooperate with an investigation so were taken to court by Barking and Dagenham Council. The case was heard at Snaresbrook Crown Court on October 6, but only just revealed by the local authority this week.
The landlords were issued with confiscation orders totally £37,500 each and individually fined £1,650 plus a surcharge of £165.
Cllr Laila Butt, cabinet member for enforcement and community safety, said: “Our officers work tirelessly to track down rogue landlords who are breaking the law by not applying for permission before converting their properties.
“Stamping out these practices is crucial when it comes to keeping our residents safe, and helps landlords who play by the rules.
“We will not tolerate people who engage in such practices – we will find them and prosecute.”
A spokesman for the council said there was no further information on why it took so long to stop the landlords between the enforcement notice in January 2012 and inspections in October 2016.