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Rogue landlords to repay illegal income or face prison

Words: Laura Edgar
Fined / Shutterstock_410177104

Harrow Crown Court has ordered a Neasden couple to pay back more than £300,000 in illegal income after failing to comply with enforcement notices. If they don't pay the money back, they face prison.

Mohammad Ishaq, 68, and Shamim Akhtar, 66, both of Clifford Way, Neasden, converted two terrace houses, one on Glynfield Road and the other in Belton Road, into 18 tiny flats without planning permission. They subsequently lost appeals against Brent's enforcement notices, which ordered them to undo the works. They failed to comply with the notices for several years.

The couple pleaded guilty to the planning offences in May at Willesden Magistrates Court. The case was referred to Harrow Crown Court for confiscation and sentencing.

The judge ordered them to pay back £322,282 in illegal income. They were also each fined £10,000 for their failure to comply with planning enforcement notices on properties they own in Willesden and Harlesden, and ordered to pay the council's costs.

Judge Dean said the breaches had caused harm to both the surrounding community and to the occupants of the properties. “I hope we can draw a line under this," she told the defendants. “As you'll continue to be landlords, I hope you now understand the importance of providing good quality properties.”

The defendants have 12 weeks to pay unless they convince the court to allow for extra time. The judge specified that failure to pay the sum would lead to imprisonment for two years.

Work has nearly finished to revert the properties to their lawful use as single houses.

Image credit | iStock