A private landlord who converted several houses into bedsits without planning consent has been ordered to pay more than £340,000.
Latif Rehman, who reportedly earns £150,000 a year in rental income, was described by a judge at Wolverhampton Crown Court as ‘a significant player’ in the local private rented sector, and yet he chose to ignore a number of council notices to undo the work.
Rehman, aged 58, received £278,000 in tenants’ housing benefits from Dudley Council on four properties, three of which are located in Netherton and one in Wall Heath.
According to local newspaper, the Express & Star, prosecuting, Mark Jackson, said Dudley Council had ‘bent over backwards’ to help the landlord, and yet he ignored enforcement notices and continued to rent the properties out.
Jackson commented: “The local authority has bent over backwards to afford the defendant every opportunity to comply with the enforcement notices. He was given extension after extension and used the time to obtain more rent.”
Rehman,of Lordswood Road, Harborne, pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to comply with enforcement notices, was ordered to pay Dudley Council full compensation of £278,028 within three months or go to prison for three years, and fined a total of £40,000. He was also ordered to pay £25,898 prosecution costs.
Recorder David Mason told him: “You are a significant player in the rental market, you knew about property law yet you blatantly disregarded the notices.”