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Surveyor with over 30 years experience prosecuted for submitting forged tenancy agreements

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

In the latest in a series of prosecutions by Brent Council, a landlord and his planning agent who tried to deceive the Council and the Planning Inspectorate by submitting forged tenancy agreements were fined thousands of pounds by Willesden Magistrates' Court this month.

Mr Martin Joseph Hetherton, the landlord, and Mr Michael Durham, a surveyor with over 30 years experience, had tried to seek planning permission for a studio flat on 67 Church Lane in Brent.

They submitted fake tenancy agreements to cover the years 2008, 2009 and 2011 to try and trick the planning authorities into believing that the studio flat had been in use for over 4 years and was therefore lawful.

It was discovered that the tenancy agreements were fake because they were created on ‘Law Pack Forms' that were not actually published until 2012, meaning that none of the agreements could have been signed in 2008, 2009 or 2011.

On 19 May 2015 at Willesden Magistrates' Court both Mr Hetherton and Mr Durham pleaded guilty to the charges and were each fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,286.

The court heard how this conviction meant Mr Durham would no longer be able to continue working as a surveyor and that he had already resigned from the professional group that regulates surveyors.

Councillor Margaret McLennan, Lead Member for Regeneration and Housing at Brent Council said: "Professional misconduct such as this is unacceptable.

"Planning rules are in place for a reason and those who ignore them run the risk of not just receiving hefty fines but of having their professional reputations ruined too."

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