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A London landlord has been ordered to pay over £1.1 million after dividing three London Bridge flats into bedsits.
The huge sum is from a proceeds of crime order against the London landlord who is believed to have made £1.2 million in gross profit from the illegal bedsits.
Southwark Council brought the prosecution after a long-drawn-out battle with the London landlord which started in 2010 when 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.
The 74-year-old was fined and ordered to return the flats to their original condition. However, 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 London 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’.
It was found that Trepel would have earned £1.2 million in gross rent from the London Bridge Street properties since 2011, leading to a proceeds of crime order to pay back £1,118,601 of his profits within three months, or face a seven-year prison sentence.
The London landlord was also 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.
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.
She said: ‘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.’
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.