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£240k POCA fine for Brent landlords

Words: Laura Edgar
Money / iStock-185267728

A Crown Court judge has ordered a family of landlords to pay fines totalling £244,367 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).

Mum and daughter Harsha and Chandni Shah, along with Harsha Shah's brother, Sanjay Shah, were renting out a four-bedroom house in Wembley to 31 people. Officers at the council also found a woman living next to the property in a shack that had no lighting or heating and was made out of wood offcuts and tarpaulin.

It has been estimated that they were pocketing around £112,000 a year.

The family was assisted by Jaydipkumar Valand, who was acting as its agent and collecting rent from the tenants.

Her Honour Judge Wood of Harrow Crown Court issued a confiscation order for the £116,000 against Harsha Shah and Chandni Shah under the POCA. Valand was ordered to pay £5,000 under a confiscation order.

Harsha Shah, Chadni Shah and Sanjay Shah were sentenced to pay £41,000 in fines. All the defendants were ordered to pay £82,367 in costs.

A confiscation order was not awarded against Sanjay Shah because the court was not persuaded that he had benefited from his part in the crime. The judge did fine him, though, because he had played a key role in facilitating the illegal operation.

Eleanor Southwood, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, said: "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.”

Image credit | iStock