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April 23

Landlord’s £50,000 Debt Dilemma: 15 Months in Jail Looms

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A landlord is under severe pressure, risking a substantial prison term unless she raises over £50,000 within three months. Additionally, she faces further financial penalties totaling around £30,000.

Back in 2015, Planning Enforcement Officers from Barking and Dagenham council discovered that a five-bedroom property had been subdivided into two separate flats without obtaining the required planning permission.

Titilola Oyejole, the owner, was served with an Enforcement Notice by the council, mandating the property’s restoration to a single dwelling and prohibiting its division into two separate units of accommodation. Despite an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, which proved futile, the stipulations of the notice were expected to be fulfilled by April 2016.

However, come November 2016, council officers found that the property persisted as two self-contained flats. One flat housed tenants, while the other was occupied by Oyejole herself, evidently failing to comply with the Enforcement Notice issued earlier. This non-compliance has now left Oyejole facing significant legal and financial consequences.

In July 2018, Oyejole faced legal repercussions at Snaresbrook Crown Court, where she was fined £200, incurred costs of £4,203 to Barking and Dagenham council, and a victim surcharge of £30. Additionally, a Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act was issued, amounting to £19,784, resulting in a total sum of £24,217.

Subsequent to the court ruling, renovations were undertaken at the property, reverting it to its original five-bedroom single dwelling by knocking down the first-floor division. However, in May 2018, Oyejola applied for a property license from the council to rent out the premises. Despite this, during a council inspection, it was discovered that the property had once again been subdivided into two separate units by installing a locked door in place of the previously removed first-floor wall.

Oyejole faced legal action as one of the flats within the property was rented out to tenants while she occupied the other. Upon inspection, officers noted substandard conditions in the tenant’s flat, including water ingress and rodent infestation, leading to the issuance of Improvement Notices. These notices demanded immediate action to rectify the property’s condition and ensure compliance with housing standards.

In September 2023, Oyejola contested three charges at Barkingside Magistrates Court: failure to adhere to planning enforcement requirements and two notices related to the property’s condition and rodent infestation. Despite pleading not guilty, the court proceedings shed light on the ongoing issues with the property, prompting further investigation into Oyejola’s compliance with housing regulations.

The court’s scrutiny revealed persistent disregard for housing standards, raising concerns about the well-being of the tenants and the overall property’s condition. As legal proceedings unfolded, it became evident that Oyejola’s alleged infractions had far-reaching implications, underscoring the importance of upholding housing regulations to safeguard tenants’ rights and ensure habitable living conditions.

Oyejola’s conviction on all three counts by the Magistrates marked a significant legal outcome.

Recently, during proceedings at Snaresbrook Crown Court, Oyejola faced the consequences of her actions. The court imposed a substantial fine of £7,500 for the planning violation and £500 for each breach of the Improvement Notices. Additionally, she was directed to cover the legal expenses incurred by Barking and Dagenham council, amounting to £4,920.50. Furthermore, a Confiscation Order issued under the Proceeds of Crime Act demanded a payment of £51,983.24 within three months, with a looming 15-month prison sentence if she fails to comply with the order.

In total, Oyejola finds herself confronted with a considerable financial burden totaling £78,620.

The council spokesperson lauded the outcome as a commendable victory, acknowledging the collaborative efforts of all involved in securing justice and upholding the rights of private tenants.

 


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000 Debt Dilemma: 15 Months in Jail Looms, Landlord's £50, Rogue Landlord


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