Property lawyer fined £10,000 for renting out house with ‘kitchen in the garden shed’

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By Thomas Connelly on

She told the court a tenant built the illegal extension without her knowledge

Suhasini Gurusinghe’s property in Wembley

A London-based property solicitor has been handed a £10,000 fine by magistrates for operating an “illegal bedsit” which had a “kitchen in the garden shed.”

Suhasini Gurusinghe, a partner at Wembley law firm Gurusinghe & Co, was slapped with the hefty financial penalty after failing to renew her House in Multiple Occupation licence for a £650,000 property she owns in West London.

According to the Evening Standard, the property — which was home to six tenants paying £300-£550 a month each — contained an “illegal kitchen extension” inside its garden shed. Hooked up to the main property using cables and gas canisters, inspectors from Brent Council said the makeshift kitchenette was “in danger of catching fire.”

The report also reveals that the property had a broken front door and no fire safety procedures in place, nor gas and electricity certificates.

Appearing before Willesden Magistrates’ Court, Gurusinghe — who was admitted to the roll in 1987 — argued that the council had sent its licence renewal reminders to the incorrect address. Describing it as “a very unfortunate situation,” the 57-year-old property specialist claimed that a tenant had built the rough and ready kitchen without her knowledge. Continuing, she said: “I feel very hard done by.”

Gurusinghe was fined £10,000 for breaching section 61 of the Housing Act 2004. She was also ordered to pay £2,000 in costs and a £170 victim surcharge.

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