Couple Who Hid Secret Home With Fake Garage Door Slapped With Fine

There’s often a hitch when it comes to extending your home into an uber-pad – your next door neighbours and local authorities might not be all too happy with it.

Now one UK couple who tried to hide the fact they’d converted their garage into a secret home by fitting it with a fake garage door have been slapped with a fine.

Dr Reeta Herzallah and Hamdi Almasri, of Enderby, Leicestershire, used the false door to hide the doorway and window of the new building from planning inspectors, reports the Leicester Mercury.

This was despite the fact that permission for the new build had already been refused by the local council, as they went ahead and did it anyway. Naughty, naughty.

The pair were convicted at Leicester Magistrates’ Court for breaching a number of planning conditions after authorities caught wind of reports that the couple had been carrying out unauthorised work on the garage.

The couple now face having to return the garage to its original purpose. Can’t imagine that a garage would be nice a place to live in, can you?

“The development included the conversion of their garage to habitable accommodation and the erection of fencing, preventing off street parking at the property,” a planning authority spokesman told the Leicester Mercury after the court hearing.

“The couple also undertook illegal works within the highway and created an unauthorised vehicle access onto the busy B4114 dual carriageway.”

The couple’s home only got planning permission in 2007 with the condition that it had permanent car parking facilities to ease potential issues with on-street parking. Permission was also required to build a driveway.

After the council became aware of the breaches in October 2015, the couple made an application to keep the works in July 2016. A six month battle ensued but their appeal was finally dismissed in February last year, leading them to come up with their ploy.

A spokesperson for Braby District Council said: “After further correspondence from the council, some remedial works were undertaken by the defendants in May and June of 2017, which included the removal of fencing.

“Inspections by officers in July and August 2017 confirmed, however, that the garage had not been restored to its approved use, with the inserted door and window concealed by a propped up garage door.

“A final site visit in November 2017 confirmed that the required works to the garage had still not been undertaken, following we sought prosecution for the offence.”

The couple have been issued a Breach of Condition notice and were ordered to pay a £770 fine, £1,252 in legal costs, and a £77 victim surcharge.

Councillor Sheila Scott, the council’s cabinet member for planning, called the couple’s removal of ‘valuable’ off-road parking space ‘completely unacceptable’.

“The message from this case is clear: if you breach planning regulations and ignore us we will not just go away,” Cllr Scott said.

She added: “We will be following up the successful prosecution with a further visit to ensure that all the requirements of the Breach of Condition Notice are fully complied with.”

This isn’t the only time lately that rogue landlords in England have used their garage or garden space for nefarious purposes.

Last month a London family was convicted for renting out a four-bedroom property to as many as 40 people. Some of them even lived in the garden shed.

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