Property developer slammed for moving ‘unsuspecting’ tenants into illegal flats conversion

Residents upset over the illegal build in Temple Gardens. From left to right:
Sandra Doney, Chris C

Residents upset over the illegal build in Temple Gardens. From left to right: Sandra Doney, Chris Clyne, Richard Morawetz and Dr Helen Fry . Picture: Nigel Sutton. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Neighbours have slammed a property developer for renting out illegally converted flats on their street to “unsuspecting” tenants.

Residents in Temple Gardens, Golders Green, complained to the Ham&High in January about extensions to a four-bedroom family home, now transformed into six self-contained flats.

Barnet Council has served an enforcement notice on Cypriot property developer Ozcan Hassan requiring him to demolish the house’s first floor extension, which was deemed “unlawful” by the council when a retrospective planning application was refused.

But Mr Hassan has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate against the enforcement notice and is now preparing to move tenants into the flats after posting an advert on classifieds website Gumtree.

Historian Dr Helen Fry, 46, secretary of Temple Gardens Residents Association, said: “Whether the property is being rented out unlawfully or not is currently unclear, however there needs to be a change in the law to prevent properties from being rented out whilst an appeal is being made on an enforcement order.

“Some unsuspecting tenants could find themselves homeless if a developer loses the appeal. Firmer action needs to be taken against developers who are wrecking family neighbourhoods with developments into bedsits.”

Mr Hassan claims he is entitled to convert the family home into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) for up to six residents under the government’s “permitted development rights”.

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He is preparing to move five people into number 32 and will move a sixth into the property if the Planning Inspectorate overturns the enforcement notice.

Mr Hassan has also made controversial changes to two other Golders Green homes in Hamilton Road and The Drive.

The four-bedroom house in Hamilton Road was converted into seven studio flats in 2012.

A retrospective application last year was refused by the council which deemed the development unlawful. The council served an enforcement notice and says the home has since been returned to its original state.

Mr Hassan has also applied to convert a former doctor’s surgery in The Drive into seven bedrooms.

All three homes are owned by companies registered to an address in Farnborough, Hampshire, according to Land Registry records.

The properties in Temple Gardens and The Drive were bought by off-shore companies in the Seychelles and the British Virgin Islands.

A Barnet Council spokesman said: “The council has issued an enforcement notice in respect of the rear extension at 32 Temple Gardens and will continue to monitor the properties in both Temple Gardens and The Drive.”