The owner of a property in Brighton has been landed with a fine and court costs totalling almost £10,000 for turning the family home into a shared house and renting it out.
Shirley White, 56, divided up the house, 41 Bevendean Crescent, and started renting it out before learning that she needed planning permission to convert it into a “house in multiple occupation” (HMO).
White applied to Brighton and Hove City Council for planning permission but her planning application was refused and enforcement action began shortly after.
She appealed against the refusal but the Planning Inspectorate upheld the council’s decision.
The council issued an enforcement notice but White, of Friars Walk, north London, let out the property as a shared house again.
As a result, the council took legal action, bringing the case to Brighton Magistrates’ Court.
The council said that White was fined £7,830 and ordered to pay £2,003 in costs, making £9,833 in total.
Councillor Leo Littman, who chairs the council’s Planning Committee, said: “Planning permission is there for a reason.
“It helps to ensure that the people who are going to live in shared housing have decent living space as well as taking into account potential pressures on neighbourhoods.
“This decision sends a strong message that although we will always try to resolve planning issues through negotiation, if the rules are consistently broken we will resort to legal action.”
The council said: “HMOs provide essential low-cost accommodation for people living and working in a city where rents are high.
“Our planning policies are not designed to stop HMOs. They help us to manage HMO concentrations across the city and maintain balanced and sustainable communities, as well as ensuring decent living standards.”
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