Heydon landlords handed hefty fine for repeatedly renting out property illegally

Attackers set fire to Spaldwick Service Station on the A14

Attackers set fire to Spaldwick Service Station on the A14 - Credit: Archant

A couple from Heydon have been ordered to hand over more than £75,000 and pay a fine of £10,000 after repeatedly renting out two former barn units without permission.

After a lengthy legal battle, the case sent out a clear warning to others looking to rent out property without consent.

Syed Moshin Akhtar, 73, and his wife Ilyas Fatima Akhtar, 67, of North Hall Farm, Barley Road, were refused permission to convert former barn units into homes in 2003, but were given permission to convert them into offices the following year.

But the pair chose to rent the units out as to residential tenants, and South Cambridgeshire District Council served an enforcement notice to stop them.

A further planning application in 2009 saw planning permission granted for conversion to holiday homes but the couple decided to rent the properties out again as full-time unfurnished residential homes, so further council action was taken.

They were ordered to hand over the rent money by Judge Mark Lucraft QC at a sentencing and confiscation hearing at the Old Bailey on Friday.

The Old Bailey judge ordered the couple to hand over £75,745.11 they had collected in rent, fined them a further £10,000 and told them to pay the district council’s £16,000 legal costs.

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Councillor Robert Turner, the council’s lead member for planning, said: “This has been a really complex case and our officers have done an excellent job in bringing it to a successful conclusion.

“Mr and Mrs Akhtar were previously refused planning permission for residential homes for these two units and have chosen to completely ignore this fact.

“We know how frustrating breaches of planning are to the vast majority of people who play by the rules and the judge’s decision sends a clear message that breaches of this type are taken seriously.”