Property News

Property Developer Given Record Fine After Building Flats Without Planning Permission

Em Morley - December 16, 2015

A property developer has been handed a record-breaking fine after building a six-storey block of flats without planning permission.

Yusuf Sarodia has been battling Hackney Council over the multi-million pound matter since 2011.

Sarodia, 62, has continually refused the authority’s request to demolish the tower. He has now been hit with a £735,000 fee to pay and has still not knocked the building down.

The entrepreneur is the director of Garland Development and managed the construction of the 34-flat premises in Hoxton, east London.

Each flat is estimated to be worth £300,000, meaning that the whole building could be valued at over £10m – it is therefore no surprise that Sarodia does not want to tear it down.

In August, Hackney Council ordered Sarodia and his firm to pay a confiscation order of £700,000, plus over £25,000 in costs. However, he did not act and now, the block of flats is still there. It is currently empty.

Sarodia and his company were then taken to Snaresbrook Crown Court and fined a further £10,000.

Hackney Council’s Andrew Woollard comments: “The planning service has never seen this amount of confiscation before. We think it is a record figure.”

He states that Sarodia did not gain approval from the relevant authority to build the flats.

He adds: “We told him to demolish it, which he did not do, hence why the action was taken. The confiscation order of £700,000 is a reflection of all the rent he’s got since he built it. He would have been fined a lot more if it wasn’t for the order already in place.”1

Sarodia claims to have been victimised by the council, but has agreed to pay the fine “next month”.

He says: “I am a simple person, I don’t use outside builders, I do it myself. Everybody makes mistakes. But we have not done any drugs here or had prostitutes in here.

“I have not done anything wrong, I have given the residents a good sized bathroom and good sized bedroom. Nobody’s saying it’s a bad building, I don’t know what the problem is here. When I built the site, in the beginning I did as what was on the plan, but I put in a few extra windows.”1 

However, the council insists that it will take further enforcement action if the building isn’t demolished.

Councillor Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Regeneration at Hackney Council, states: “Anyone who thinks they have a right to build in Hackney without first obtaining planning permission must realise that the council will take action against those who flout the rules.

“Putting up a building without planning permission is not only breaching planning law but to be quite frank, puts at risk the safety of residents and neighbouring properties.”1

It is reported that money received from Sarodia’s fine will be used by the council to reinvest in local services.

The council will receive one third of the sum, with the remaining two-thirds split between the court and the Treasury.