Eyewatering £144,000 penalty issued to Wembley resident illegally renting properties

20 September 2021

Ms Orofena St. John, owner of 39 Clarendon Gardens built a number of extensions and converted them into seven flats and two bedsits all without planning permission.
 
Two enforcement notices were issued to St. John in 2017 requiring that the extensions be demolished and the premises be converted back to one house.
 
Both orders were ignored and the council had no option other than to take the matter to court. The owner was convicted of breaching these notices in 2019 and the matter was then referred to Harrow Crown Court under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
 
During the proceedings it was revealed that St. John was also in breach of another enforcement notice issued to 13 The Paddocks. This property had similarly been illegally converted into two homes, with rooms being rented out to multiple students on a short term basis without permission.
 
On 1 September 2021, St. John was ordered to pay £111,582.57 for the income received from illegally renting the properties to tenants for a profit. In addition to this, St. John was fined £18,000 in council legal costs and £15,000 for the breach of the notices.
 
This successful prosecution was a true cross-council effort with special thanks to Brent's Legal, Trading Standards, and Planning Enforcement teams. 
 
Cllr Shama Tatler, Brent Council Lead Member for Regeneration, Property & Planning, said:
 
“This is a significant win for Brent. The council is committed to taking robust action to prevent the creation of substandard, poor-quality housing and badly designed and ugly extensions.
 
“The bottom line is that we will hold people to account who break planning laws, and create unlawful developments.
 
“This penalty sends a clear message that people will not be allowed to get away with ignoring planning laws and renting out properties illegally.

“These laws are in place to protect our residents from being exploited in inferior accommodation and to ensure that Brent’s environment is a great place for everyone to live.”