Monday 07 December 2020
The appeal concerned the enforcement action against the conversion of a house into two self-contained flats in Hendon, north-west London.
The appellant appealed against the enforcement notice on ground (e). They argued that the notice, which the appellant had “found” at the appeal property, was not served on a particular individual and was addressed to the “owner/occupier”, rather than “anyone specific”.
Noting that the appellant was aware of the notice and had been able to lodge an appeal, the inspector was not persuaded that she had been “substantially prejudiced”.
However, the Inspector noted, according to HM Land Registry, the property had been leased to a development company for a period of seven years from January 2017. The representative of this company explained that he became aware of the enforcement notice after seeing a notice displayed near the site setting out the details of the inquiry, leading him to attend.
Although it conceded that it had not served a notice to the development company, the council argued that because of the “close relationship” of the appellant with the development company director (siblings), it was “likely that the development company were aware of the notice”.
The Inspector was not satisfied. “The likelihood of one party informing another” was not an adequate reason not to serve the notice to all parties, she said. In any case, she added, there was no evidence that the council had known about the relationship between the parties at the time of serving the notice.
The Inspector agreed with the representative for the development company, who contended that he could have sought legal advice and pursued an appeal of his own had he been given proper notice of the enforcement action. On this basis, the Inspector allowed the appeal and quashed Barnet Councils enforcement notice.
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