The council has won a £1.1million proceeds of crime order against an ‘unscrupulous’ landlord who divided three London Bridge flats into around ‘twenty cramped bedsits’.
Landlord Andre Charles Trepel was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £35,000 costs at Inner London Crown Court on April 17, for breaching a planning enforcement notice, while his company No1 (London) Ltd was fined £1,000.
Trepel and his company have also been ordered to pay back £1,118,601 of his profits within three months, or face a seven-year prison sentence.
The council originally won a planning prosecution against Mr Trepel, of Trinec in the Czech Republic, for his illegal conversion of the flats at 4-6 London Bridge Street in 2010.
The 74-year-old was fined and ordered to return the flats to their original condition.
Despite that, visits from council inspectors in 2015 and 2016 revealed little had been done to comply with the order – and further charges were brought in 2017.
The landlord was again found guilty, but sentencing was deferred until an investigation could reveal how much profit he had made from renting out the ‘illegally-divided properties’.
Trepel would have earned £1.2million in gross rent from the London Bridge Street properties since 2011, it was found.
Cllr Victoria Mills, Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Brexit, said she hopes the order serves as a warning to any ‘disreputable’ landlords operating in the borough.
“This council will not stand by and let our residents live in cramped properties that are harmful to their health and happiness, and we will use every legal measure at our disposal to ensure homes are of a decent standard and landlords do not profit from the misery of their tenants,” she said.
Under Proceeds of Crime Act rules, most of the money will go to the government.
However, the council will get around £445,000 of the criminal benefit to re-invest in enforcement and crime reduction initiatives.
Town hall officials said they have restrained assets belonging to Mr Trepel and his company to ensure the confiscation orders will be satisfied.