A £250,000 confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 has been obtained by Brent Council against a company who rented out an illegally converted house. The property in Beverley Gardens, Wembley, was converted from a single dwelling into five self-contained flats including the construction of an outbuilding in the back garden. The property additionally suffered from severe mould and fungus growth, putting the health of the residents at risk.
The Council demolished the outbuilding but the owner continued to rent out the individual flats. Brent prosecuted the company, Minamax Ltd, for breaches of planning law who pleaded guilty on 19 July 2016 at Willesden Magistrates Court.
Minamax Ltd, was registered in the British Virgin Islands and an investigation to find the individuals behind the company was unsuccessful so Brent applied for the restraint order to prevent the sale of the property without a court order. A confiscation order was obtained on 1 December at Harrow Crown Court, with the £250, 000 representing the rental income that the company had made. The company were also ordered to pay £20, 000 in costs to Brent.
Under a Home Office Incentivisation Scheme Brent will receive approximately £90,000 when the order is paid and will use this money to fund future enforcement work.
Councillor Tom Miller, Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, said:
"This company showed a blatant disregard for planning rules and have now paid the price. The court decision shows that companies will not get away with breaking the rules, even if they attempt to avoid detection by registering overseas. We will continue to use all means at our disposal to protect the interests of our residents and communities."