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False door fails to hide illegal flat

False door fails to hide illegal flat
August 26, 2005

An old garage door failed to hide the presence of an illegal flat and has led to a conviction, a $2,000 fine, court costs, and a bill for thousands of dollars' worth of remedial work for the owner.

Myung Hyo Lee, of Glenfield pleaded guilty to two charges in the North Shore District Court under the Building Act 2004.

The charges related to illegal excavation under the house and the creation of an illegal home unit in the basement.

The North Shore City Council had issued a building consent for the owner to construct a garage and workshop under her property but the owner went on to convert the basement into an illegal flat.

The illegal flat, which was occupied by a young couple, was partly below ground level and had no fire rating between it and the main house.

An aluminium ranchslider replaced the garage door at the front of the flat while the old garage door was placed in front of the aluminium door in an attempt to hide the presence of the flat.

"It's a real concern to council that we've come across many illegal units recently," says North Shore City's compliance and monitoring team leader, David Frith.

"Many of these units are not built professionally, weathertight, insulated or firerated. Some have been found to be structurally unsound, others overcrowded.

"In this case, the owner clearly knew of the requirement to obtain a building consent, having already gone through that process a few weeks before when applying for consent for a garage and workshop," Mr Frith says.

"People are placing profit before the safety and wellbeing of their tenants. This owner could have been facing more serious charges if she had not taken prompt action to carry out remedial work and have the illegal unit removed at her own cost," he says.

The council currently has another case before the courts for a similar offence and further prosecutions are expected.

ENDS

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