Landlord told ‘demolish flats by July or go to jail for 4 months’

A landlord who built two penthouse apartments without planning permission and then failed to demolish them when ordered to now faces jail.

At Leicester County Court Munjit Dulay was given a four-month jail sentence, suspended for the next six months.

Judge Richard Hedley told him the flats – which are occupied and earning £1,000 a month between them – must be gone by Sunday, July 17 or the sentence would be activated and Dulay would be jailed.

Dulay’s company, MB Estates, which, the court heard, has about £33 million worth of property and more than £1.7 million cash in the bank, had bought St Clements Court in Fosse Lane, New Parks, Leicester, in 2012 and turned the former old folks home into 74 flats.

Without ever applying for planning permission, he built two penthouse flats on top of the two structures that make up the property.

When Leicester City Council found out it took action against MB Estates, which is owned by Dulay, demanding the flats be gone by March 6, 2018, but that was ignored.

The council got a court order in May 2019, with a district judge demanding the penthouses be removed – Dulay promised the court he would get the penthouses demolished.

But that never happened. Instead of evicting the tenants so that he could demolish the two apartments he re-let them both – at least once – continuing to collect £455 per month on one and £600 per month on the other.

Jonathan Manning, barrister for the city council, told the court: “This has now been going on a very long time.”  It’s not really suggested anything was done to comply with the injunction and it was only in August he accepted that he was going to have to demolish those properties at all.”  The company has been renting the penthouses and stringing along the authority and the court while taking no steps to demolish the penthouses.”

Mr Dulay and his company have never taken seriously the requirement to demolish the properties or comply with the order.

“In August of last year he admitted the two accusations – that MB Estates breached the May 2019 injunction and that he had committed contempt of court by “breaching undertakings” he promised the court.

Representing himself in court, Mr Dulay, 55, said he had taken bad legal advice and failed to demolish the apartments because his previous team of solicitors had advised him they could get the demolition order overturned.

He said: “I take the whole case seriously. From day one I have been wrongly advised. We were told it would be OK – the planning permission would get passed and this would get quashed.  “I wish we would have complied with the order but unfortunately that’s not the case.”

The judge asked Dulay: “Is there anything you want to say about your personal circumstances – if I sent you to prison?” Dulay said he carried out safety inspections on his properties. He said: “It’s important I keep these up for the sake of the company and the safety of the tenants.” I apologise for this matter getting out of hand.”

Announcing the penalties for Dulay and the company, Judge Hedley said Dulay clearly kept the two illegal properties occupied and collected rent for most of the period since he was told to demolish them.  He said: “It’s apparent both those penthouses have been in occupation for the entire period and the income seems to total £1,055 per month.

“There have been repeated indulgences to the defendant. He is patently an experienced businessman and at the very least he’s stuck his head in the sand.”I have no doubt the custody threshold has been crossed.”I am persuaded – but only just – that it’s appropriate to grant a further period of time for Mr Dulay to comply with the terms of his undertaking.”Mr Dulay will go to prison for a period of four months, suspended on the condition that within six months of today – July 17 – the enforcement notices are complied with.”

He warned Dulay he could face further contempt of court proceedings if he failed to remove the flats by the July 17 deadline.He added: “That’s six months for complete compliance – for them to be demolished totally.”  For the breach of the injunction, MB Estates was fined £25,000 and Dulay will also have to pay the city council’s legal costs of £4,129.

Commenting on the case, deputy city mayor Councillor Piara Singh Clair said: “This was a very poor standard of development, built without planning permission in a flagrant breach of planning control.




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