It was only recently that Reeta and Hamdi Alsmari had moved to the new neighbourhood, but have already started showing some disturbing signs. Everyone noticed – there was something off about the couple.
It wasn’t until the authorities intervened that Reeta’s and Hamdi’s dark secret was finally out in the open, shocking everyone around them!
Reeta Hezallah and Hamdi Alsmari had been married for quite some time, but theirs wasn’t a conventional love story. It was a marriage arranged by their parents when they lived in their native countries. It was only after that they moved to Enderby, which is situated in Leicestershire county in the middle of England.
They were both practicing doctors and lived off a busy road in the Blaby district. Their house was two-storied and also included a garage. The couple decided to turn their garage into something extraordinary. They did the job so well that their creation went viral online.
The couple’s homely abode was a part of a housing project. Their home was originally built in 2007. At that time, developers brainstormed together and came up with a regulation.
The condition required every houseowner to also include a garage in their space to sort out parking issues in that area. Rightly so, Reeta and Hamdi’s house also had a garage.
Back in 2015, the Blaby District Council was informed that some residents weren’t following the said rules. Among the violators were Reeta and Hamdi.
People discovered that the couple had put high fences around the parking spaces. This translated to the fact that other cars couldn’t be parked there. It also meant that other residents had to find parking elsewhere.
It wasn’t just about the fences as the couple also constructed an illegal entranceway that lead from their property to the busy highway. As it turned out, the fences and the entranceway weren’t just there for anything.
Actually, the couple had turned their garage into a living space! The laws and regulations stated that the garage was only meant to be used as a parking space and wasn’t allowed to serve any other purpose.
The UK takes laws and regulations very seriously. Building permits aren’t different either. You have to abide by all the rules and laws if you want to construct anything.
Once it has been decided that an unplanned building goes against the permits, the city council can push for changes to the law.
If the owner disagrees with the decision, he/she can appeal it as well. But if the owner loses, severe repercussions follow suit.
If he or she is unsuccessful, they must obey the rules and regulations laid down by the authorities. In a worst-case scenario, charges can be filed against the owner.
Reeta and Hamdi knew that they would run into some serious trouble if they didn’t set things straight. To avoid this, they had presented a plan to the city council in July of 2016.
They hoped to get the opportunity to keep the changes they had made. But guess what? The authorities didn’t agree and soon, the request was denied.
Reeta and Hamid weren’t someone who would lose hope all of a sudden. In February 2017, the couple tried again to appeal.
But this time around, they decided to put forth an appeal to the National Planning Inspector for England and Wales. However, their luck didn’t favour them this time, as well as their appeal, was denied again.
Finally in the mid of 2017, the couple decided to take the fencing down. During a follow-up inspection, the officers made a rather interesting discovery.
The couple had installed a large door in front of the garage. The officials were even more surprised when they discovered that there was a smaller door with two small windows behind it.
The garage had been completely transformed and was being used as a living space. The officials believed that an employee of theirs might be living in that transformed garage.
The officers began numerous legal processes against Herzallah and Alsmari. It was in 2017 that it was found that the couple still wasn’t abiding by the rules.
The couple’s case was being headed by Councilwoman Sheila Scott. Scott is also responsible for planning and housing strategy for the Blaby District Council. The councilwoman shared a press release with the public in early February 2018.
The press release stated this – “The message, in this case, is clear. If you break planning regulations and ignore us, we will not just leave.”
The press release had some more fiery statements from the councilwoman. It further read “Building an entranceway leading up to a busy highway and blocking valuable parking space is completely unacceptable.”
A hearing on the case began in the Leicester Magistrates’ Court on February 7th of 2018. But guess what? Reeta and Hamid were not present.
Since the couple failed to attend the hearing, they receive a hefty fine. The court asked them to pay up a fine of more than 1,000 dollars.
Not only this but they were also burdened with the cost of the legal process. This amounted to 1,700 dollars with an extra surtax of around 170 dollars.
The word quickly spread out further than just in Blaby. Soon, everyone got to know what Reeta and Hamid had done with their garage.
Since the couple also put in a door and windows, it looked like a small house that had also been renovated to make it livable. The news might have gone viral but it was met with only positive reactions.
Reeta religiously read all the articles and comments in the paper. She couldn’t stand how the media was treating the couple. So on February 13th, Reeta decided to rant out on Facebook.
She shared a post on the social media platform where she wrote that false information was being spread and they were being slandered on old and new media.
After going through the articles and comments, Reeta realized that the whole issue had a racist backbone to the stories being spread in the media.
“A small dispute with the city about a small garage in our house that we used for personal reasons turned into a story about ‘foreign doctors’ with a ‘hidden home’ behind a blocked off the garage door.” She wrote in her Facebook post.
Reeta also cleared several doubts that plagued this issue. She further made it clear in her Facebook post by stating “This was a simple single garage conversion into a small garden annexe in the house that we own on the land that we own, and it cannot be called a separate house in any stretch of the imagination!”
Their true intentions were finally revealed and as it turned out, they never intended to break the law.
Reeta also revealed that they had also hired a contractor to carry out the job. According to the couple, the contractor clearly stated that all the changes were legal.
For this very reason, the couple also had a spat with the contractor on getting the garage back to its original state. Reeta also made it clear that the garage door that was in front of the house was not there to hide anything. They were simply waiting for it to be installed.
Reeta didn’t stop at this in her Facebook post as she also wrote “What kind of idiot would hide a building behind an uninstalled garage door?
A little bit of respect for the readers’ intelligence would have been the least you could do. I also suggest that before you attack a law-abiding, hard-working couple who have been misled by the council and the builders, you look at both sides of the story.”
After hearing what Reeta had to say, many people changed their opinions. One user wrote, “How ridiculous, I’m embarrassed for the neighbours who reported it and the authorities who enforced it!”
While countless people found it strange that you can’t do what you want to your own house.