Demolition Order: Jail Threat for Wealthy Landlord
Doomsday is on the horizon for a wealthy landlord who ignored a demolition order whilst building two penthouses without planning permission.
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After a landlord was recently given a suspended sentence for illegally evicting a tenant, landlords are back in the news.
The millionaire landlord has been told to follow a demolition order to demolish the flats by July 2022, or face a four-month jail sentence.
Leicester County Court hearing has declared that Munjit Dulay – whose company MB Estate owns property worth millions of pounds – bought St Clement Court in Fosse Lane, New Parks, Leicester in 2012, having converted the former elderly care home into 74 flats.
The landlord blatantly ignored the demolition order from the city council and a court order to remove them in May 2019. He then continued to build two penthouse flats on top of these buildings without planning permission.
The court has also heard that MB Estates has about £33 million worth of property and more than £1.7 million cash in the bank. And, Leicestershire Live reported that instead of evicting the tenants, Dulay re-let both penthouses – at least once – continuing to collect £455 per month on one building and £600 per month on the other.
Barrister for the city council, Jonathan Manning, has told the court that Dulay and his company had never taken seriously the requirement to demolish the properties or comply with the order.
Judge Richard Hedley has also told Dulay that the flats must be demolished by 17th of July, 2022 or the jail sentence would be activated.
What will happen to the landlord concerning the demolition order?
- Dulay, 55, represented himself in court – saying he had taken ‘bad legal advice’ and ‘failed to demolish the apartments’ because his previous team of solicitors advised they could ‘get the demolition order overturned’.
- Dulay admitted in August 2021 that MB Estate had breached the injunction, and that he had committed contempt of court by ‘breaching undertakings’.
- Dulay was given a four-month jail sentence and a suspension for the next six months. MB Estate was fined £25,000 for breaching the injunction and Dulay was ordered to pay costs of £4,129.
Deputy city mayor, councillor Piara Singh Clair has given a statement that chimes in some beneficial advice:
This case shows that ignoring and seeking to evade enforcement proceedings will lead to consequences such as large fines and potentially a prison sentence if the council’s requirements are not followed.
What can landlords learn from this?
But this case shows that it’s important to stay on top of changes to the law, as you won’t be able to get away with failing to comply with legal requests or existing requirements.
Recently there has been a consultation on holiday lets, looking at whether they are destroying local communities. Housing Minister Christopher Pincher has revealed that a consultation on the situation is due this year, 2022, followed by a change in the current tax system that will not allow owners to abuse a tax loophole by claiming their often-empty properties as holiday lets. So be sure to keep an eye on the news for updates if you have any short-term lets!
We would also recommend ensuring you have great landlord support, whether you’re looking for legal advice on how to avoid unnecessary fees, charges, or other landlord related battles. Here at Mashroom we support everyone at whatever stage they may be in their landlord journey. Our free advertising platform can help simplify finding a tenant and give you the advice you may need.