As much as we love funky buildings shaped like other things, one U.K. couple is learning the lesson that architectural deceit does not always pay. In 2007, Reeta Herzallah and Hamdi Almasri were granted permits to build on their property, under the stipulation that they keep enough parking—explicitly including a small brick garage. Instead, they converted the structure into another dwelling—a compact home with a normal door and window—and took elaborate lengths to conceal that fact.
A tall fence runs along the drive on either side of the entry. The home’s fake garage door appears to be something that could be quickly hung in front of its facade. But was it only trotted out when building inspectors might arrive? What if someone was in the tiny house when the cover had to be on? Did the home have any other windows? We’re left with questions.
What is known is that Herzallah and Almasri now have to turn the house back into a true garage and they each have to pay a £770 fine, £1,252 in legal costs, and a £77 victim surcharge.
“The message from this case is clear,” said local district councillor Sheila Scott. “If you breach planning regulations and ignore us, we will not just go away.”
As the trend of backyard accessory dwelling units continues to rise, this is perhaps a valuable lesson in what not to do.