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Barking enforcement officers praised as rogue landlord faces huge payout

Words: Huw Morris

Planning enforcement officers at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham have been praised for their role in successfully prosecuting a rogue landlord and securing a massive fine.

Zoofshan Malik, of Upney Lane, Barking, must pay out £235,000 for renting out illegal bedsits following a proceeds of crime case and an investigation by enforcement officers.

Snaresbrook Crown Court ordered Malik to pay the sum after she initially pleaded guilty to renting “filthy flats” in an illegal extension to her property in Longbridge Road at £2,850 per month.

The proceeds of crime case was brought after the council argued she had benefited from her offending following an earlier hearing on the illegal extension.

Officers from the council’s planning enforcement team had raided the property after an anonymous tip-off about the extension and discovered the four flats, which she rented out through Emerson Knight Estates Ltd, of which she was a director.

The court ordered Malik to pay a £222,000 Confiscation Order – under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 – in three months or face two years’ imprisonment.

She was also fined £2,000 for the illegal extension with three months to pay or face 30 days in jail, plus £11,649 in costs.

The court took into account Malik’s criminal lifestyle uncovered during the investigation, including rental income of £108,000, unidentifiable cash deposits and tax avoidance.

Out of the £222,000 for the confiscation order, 37.5 per cent goes to the council to be spent on fighting crime, 50 per cent will go to the government with 12.5 per cent going to the court service.

Barking and Dagenham’s cabinet member for community safety and enforcement Laila Butt said the victory reflected the “magnificent work” of the council’s legal team and “our diligent investigation and enforcement officers whose determination and forensic use of evidence led to this excellent outcome”.

“This illegal extension and filthy flats would not have looked out of place in a Rio slum,” she added. “Through our tough enforcement action they have been demolished so no one else has to suffer such bad living conditions.”

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