To be observed
After noticing that their neighbors were starting to get curious, they decided to put a fence around the perimeter of their property. Now that they no longer had prying eyes, they thought they could breathe a sigh of relief.
Isolated from the world, they continued to work on their project while making music to hide what they were doing. But they weren’t aware of a flaw in their fence, a small gap that anyone could look through.
Reeta Herzallah and Hamdi Almasri had built what they thought was special, but everything collapsed when a nosy neighbor decided to report them to authorities.
Almasri (39) and his wife Herzallah (37) enjoyed their life in Enderby (Great Britain). It was a small quaint town that wasn’t busy. When everyone found out what drama had stirred the couple, they were surprised.
To hold oneself back
Her house was made of bricks and was near a major highway. There was a garage across the street that could fit a car. Little did people know what was hiding behind its doors.
The couple had always held back. Both worked as doctors and had spent a fair amount of time in hospitals. When they came home from their irregular work schedule, they never came out of their home.
Something in the air
Although their neighbors never made a riot, they were quite curious. They all wanted to know what the couple did with their free time, as they almost never got outside, even on weekends.
What could you do? They became more curious when they noticed something strange was coming out of their garage. It flowed high in the air and then disappeared as suddenly as it came out.
The neighbors talked among themselves about what it could be. It was a kind of smoke or steam. Maybe dust from cleaning? Maybe they were building something, but why should they keep it a secret?
Theories after theories were made. Some said the couple had a barbecue in their garage so no one could see them. Others said they were doing weird experiments behind the doors.
The couple knew that the neighbors were after them, they became suspicious and had to take measures to keep their business secret from prying eyes.
They bought wood from a local company and started working after it was delivered. They built a wooden fence that surrounded their property. Nobody could figure out what they were doing, but the neighbors wouldn’t give up easily.
Although the neighbors had only been gossiping harmlessly before, they now felt that the couple did indeed have something to hide. Warning bells rang in their heads as they wondered what to hide.
They were concerned about what their neighbors might do and how it might affect their community. It was fair to assume it could be harmful as smoke was spreading in the air. The neighbors kept talking and soon became concerned.
Play it safe (for now)
Once their fence was built, they thought they could breathe a sigh of relief. So they kept working and listening to music while they went about their project. They thought nobody was smarter.
Their fence did just the opposite, the neighbors were more curious than ever and they would try to learn the truth. The couple didn’t know what was coming next.
Reet and Hamdi came home from their hospital jobs and before doing anything else they went to the garage and kept working on their project. This hidden lifestyle had become a habit.
He opened the toolbox on the garage floor and pulled out the appropriate tools. There wasn’t a speck of dust on how often they were used. How early on they knew they were not going to break rules that disturb the peace. They knew how to keep things subtle these days.
But while the couple were working in their garage, they were unaware of how motivated their neighbors were to find out what their secret was. They were in their daily groove with their music as more than one pair of eyes watched them through the small gap in their fence.
Still unaware, eyes grew two by two and soon people were looking for their phones and an emergency number to end their hobby.
Reeta and Hamdi were no smarter when a scene took place right outside their house. Neighbors gathered when police showed up in their dozen.
Things were about to doom and the neighbors were glad to see that they had finally solved the mystery. Nobody acts so strangely when they have nothing to hide. And this couple definitely did!
Upon closer inspection of the garage door, the authorities determined that it was inappropriate. It was just a facade – propped up to hide what the couple had been doing for the past few months. They had fenced the garage around to hide it from the authorities.
“The development involved converting their garage into habitable accommodation and putting up fences to prevent off-street parking on the property,” the planning authorities said. And when the media got the story, things took a strange turn.
Building permit laws
UK building permits are taken very seriously. The couple had built another apartment on their property by converting their garage into a tiny house – although this “garage” was supposed to be a parking lot to prevent on-street parking. None of these changes had been legally approved.
The couple could appeal, but if they fail they would have to obey or be prosecuted. But the wrong garage wasn’t the only change they’d made …
Building developments that could potentially harm the neighborhood or disrupt the public are strictly prohibited under UK property development laws. If it is decided that a property is in breach of permissions, the local council will enforce changes.
Authorities also discovered other planning violations.
The bold couple had also built an additional driveway that gave them direct access to a busy freeway! “The couple also did illegal work on the autobahn and created unauthorized vehicle access to the busy B4114 expressway,” the authorities said.
“The message from this case is clear. If you break planning rules and ignore us, we won’t just walk away. Create access to [a] employed [highway] and blocking valuable off-road parking spaces was totally unacceptable, ”said Councilor Sheila Scott.
Reeta and Hamdi had submitted a subsequent planning proposal to the district council to keep the changes to their Enderby property. However, the couple’s application was denied.
They tried again, this time appealing to a higher authority, the National Planning Inspectorate for England and Wales. But here, too, her application was rejected. Months later, Reeta and Hamdi tore down illegal fencing. It looked like they were finally obeying the law …
However, when the authorities went to her home for a follow-up examination, they found a large garage door in front of the garage. The tiny structure was still used as a tiny home.
The neighbors had told the officers that one of the couple’s employees lived in the converted garage and they had no choice but to take legal action against the couple.
Indeed, a hearing on the matter was held in the nearby Leicester Magistrates’ Court, but Reeta and Hamdi did not attend the trial. And since the report of secretly converting the garage into a tiny apartment was published, the story has gone viral online.
But Reeta had her own version of the story that she offered to Facebook. And soon internet users were in a frenzy.
Reeta says the story contains false information, has been cast in a more negative light by the media, and grossly discriminates against her and her husband.
Reeta had the feeling that she sadly discovered racial prejudice behind many press reports. She also denied allegations that she and her husband converted the garage into an apartment to rent out … from a clerk or someone else.
“This was a simple conversion of a single garage to a small garden extension in the house we own on the land we own and it cannot be called a separate house in any way!” Reeta wrote. “We had no intention of breaking the law.”
Reeta then went on to explain that the contractor the couple hired to complete the renovation had told them that their changes were in compliance with the law. You are currently in a dispute with this service provider about restoring the structure to its original state.
Reeta wrote, “A simple dispute over a tiny garage on our property that we converted for personal use has led to the story” Foreign Doctors Hiding a House Behind a Supported Garage Door “.
“It doesn’t feel like a coincidence that this has received special attention when there are thousands of other disputes on the council,” she wrote, nodding to her ethnicity.
Reeta added that the “fake” garage door was only temporarily propped against the front of the structure while they prepared to be installed. She claims it wasn’t put there to try to hide her tiny second home.
“What stupid person would hide an attachment with a propped garage door?” She asked furiously in her post.
Two sides of a story
“I suggest that some respect for the readers’ intelligence would have been at least nice!” She added. She closed her post by addressing the haters directly.
“I also suggest that you learn both sides of the story before attempting to attack a law-abiding, hard-working couple who have been misled by the council and builders.”
A divisive story
If you look at the comments users made on Reeta’s post as well as articles about the dispute, the issue is clearly controversial. But about half of the readers have chosen to stand up for Herzallah and her husband.
“Seriously, why can’t people’s homes be their own? [do] with as you want? “asked one commentator,” What a shame, I tell Boo to the neighbors who reported it and Boo to plan. “
A difficult sentence
Reeta’s Facebook post sparked a divided reaction online, but authorities were determined to conduct a successful prosecution. They were each fined $ 1,000, including legal fees of $ 1,600 and a $ 100 sacrificial surcharge, and returned the garage to its original condition.
The authorities used this as a clear warning to others: “The message from this case is clear. If you break planning rules and ignore us, we won’t just walk away. “