Eye watering £250,000 to be paid back
Joint landlords received orders to pay back an eye watering £250,000 back due to the fact that they crammed 31 people in a suburban four-bedroom house. The order was made under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The joint landlords who are Mr Harsha Shah, her daughter, Miss Chandni, and brother-in-law Mr Sanjay Shah, rented their four bedroom property in Wembley through an estate agent Jaydipkumar Valand.
Filthy and dangerous living conditions
The landlords received between £40 and £75 per week in cash over a five-year period by the tenants who resided in what was described by the council as filthy and dangerous living conditions.
The landlords were prosecuted in Harrow Crown Court. The court heard evidence from the prosecution how tenants were made to sleep in bunk beds, which blocked all fire exits. After hearing the evidence the Learned judge made an order for the POCA to recover criminal assets that the Shah family.
Mr Harsha Shah and her daughter were ordered to pay £116,000 in a confiscation order. Mr Jaydipkumar Valand, who was the agent responsible for rent collections at the Napier Road property, was ordered to pay £5,000.
Mr Sanjay Shah with his sister and niece were ordered to pay £41,000 in fines. All the defendants were ordered to pay £82,367 in costs.
The property was ruled to be an illegal HMO after a 2016 raid by a London Borough of Brent housing enforcement officer. They were found guilty of breaching landlord licensing rules in May 2017.
In recent months, several landlords have been prosecuted for offenses under the housing act and received heavy fines for persistent breaches. This case is not unusual, given some of the recent cases The BLA has reported where landlords have been ordered to pay back near £500,000.
Brent Council, Cllr Eleanor Southwood commented: “We will use every legal power we have to come down hard on landlords and agents who exploit tenants in Brent. Every house in multiple occupation needs a licence, which helps to create decent living standards in the borough. We will track down landlords who do not licence their properties and rip off tenants by housing them in miserable conditions.”
Mr Chris Henson From the British Landlords Association, said “The fines handed in the last 24 months in cases hitherto have been heavy, this is intended I believe to send a very strong message to rogue landlords. Some landlords show total and utter disregard to the law.”
Date; 4th of January 2019
Source; The BLA
Author; Tracy Hemming