A landlord who was fined £1.4million under the Proceeds of Crime Act for unlawfully converting a house into an HMO and then ignoring enforcement orders requiring him to convert the house back to a single dwelling has had his penalty under the Proceeds of Crime Act cut to £544,358, according to a story published in Letting Agent Today and elsewhere.
He still faces five years in prison if he fails to make the payment.
The judges in the Court of Appeal determined that
"...[the] rents he had received prior to the enforcement notice being served, or before the time for compliance had expired, should not have been taken into account in the original judgement."
Essentially, the POCA penalties could only be invoked in relation to a criminal offence, which was the landlord's refusal to comply with the enforcement order; the unlawful planning change was not in itself a criminal offence.