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Nine years’ rent confiscated after flats declared illegal

A landlord has been ordered to pay back no less than £190,000 - equivalent to nine years’ rent - after he let out illegal flats.

A confiscation order was made against Olu Soyebo, from Nigeria, after he failed to comply with a planning enforcement notice.

Now he has three months to pay the money back or else face prison.


Harrow Crown Court heard how the property in Wembley, north London, had been converted into flats without planning permission back in 2009.

Brent council served a notice on him but follow-up visits discovered the flats had been reinstated by Soyebo and were let out separately, for over nine years.

His Honour Judge Tregilgas-Davey told Soyebo that the breach had continued for a “not insignificant period of time” and that financial investigators from Brent council were able to prove how much money he’d made in illegal rent.

He said: “You entirely ignored the foreseeable risk when you converted [the property] into two flats without planning permission.”

The judge criticised Soyebo for failing to put measures in place to ensure that the council’s warning letters, which were sent to several known addresses in London, would reach him at his home in Nigeria. 

The court heard it wasn’t Soyebo’s first enforcement notice: in 2001 a notice was served on him when the property was being used as a house in multiple occupation without planning permission.

The judge said his past brush with the planning enforcement system demonstrated Soyebo must have known the likely consequences of his actions.

As well as the confiscation order, he was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay the council’s legal costs.

  • Barry X

    Fair enough EXCEPT that a vast number of people are charged and actually convicted of fraud and almost NEVER have to pay back the money they stole or defrauded, even if they have valuable assets or money in the bank or could pay in instalments over a few years, so WHY are criminal or fraudulent landlord treated any differently/worse?

    It does seem there is a HUGE and GROWING amount of discrimination against us for tax, to undermine our property rights, to defame us and criticise us (but NEVER ever our far larger number of so often much worse and sometimes very dishonest and fraudulent tenants), and frequently treat the small number of genuinely "rouge" landlords and agents more harshly than equivalent non-landlord/agent miscreants, and then gloat over it all and make out how wonderful councils and the government are (often for doing as advised for much of this by that nasty political lobby group masquerading as a charity and being publicly funded, called Shelter).

    What a life eh? Why are those who could get out even still in this sector?


    Barry only reason I am staying in the game is because if I can weather the storm the profits to be made will out way the current negativity. Each time a landlord sells the rents increase as there is less available.

  • icon

    Didn't Brent council do well in bringing this case to a conclusion after 11 years. Shame on you Brent council it just goes to show what a shower you lot are.

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    Leon Coy why do you write in these posts when you are unable to spell correctly. Out way! try out weigh as this is the correct way you dim-wit.

    Barry X

    Whilst preferring good grammar and spelling, I welcome Leon's comment and don't mind if it contains a few typos as long as it still makes sense.

    He took the trouble to make a valuable post and may have bee in a hurry, hit a wrong key and had it "auto corrected" to what it now says... we have enough to deal with in life as it is and I bet you make mistakes too and don't even notice but people who do are perhaps kinder to you - or else you're unlucky and they're so picky you might think we all have to be, which we don't!

    Calling him a "Dim-wit" on top of your pedantry is going a bit too far - if you have a conscience I think you should apologise for that at least.


    What a clever pedant you are!

  • Barry X

    (sorry this was meant to be a reply to Paul - above - now moved)


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