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Landlord who rented out an illegally converted property is jailed

A landlord who failed to provide his tenants with adequate living conditions has been sent to jail.

Majid Saniinejad, of Stoke Newington, and his company Hertford (UK) Limited, had been letting out a property in Maxted Road, SE15, despite breaching both planning laws and unfair trading regulations.

The ground floor property had been illegally converted into two self containing flats in Peckham, east London, which provided cramped living space for his tenants.

The result followed a joint investigation by Southwark Council’s trading standards and planning enforcement teams, and has now landed the 56-year old landlord a 155-day prison sentence.

The rogue landlord was initially found guilty of ‘misleading omissions’ when he entered into one tenancy and renewed another. These omissions are an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

The defendant was also prosecuted at Croydon Magistrates Court in April 2015, for breaching a planning notice and trading standard offences under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 after ignoring the council’s warning to return the two flats back into one unit.

Saniinejad was initially fined a total of £2,500, with costs of £16,885.70, while a Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act was later issued for the recovery of rents totalling £24,000. 

But after failing to pay the confiscation order that looked to recover his criminal gains, generated from renting out the two illegal flats, Saniinejad was finally ordered last week to be detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

A District Judge concluded the hearing by activating the default jail sentence, ruling that: “According to the assets listed you were well able to pay the entire amount and you have wilfully refused to pay. I am not satisfied that you have made sufficient efforts to pay. I find culpable neglect.”

Cllr Barrie Hargrove, cabinet member for communities & safety at Southwark Council, said: “It is deplorable that some landlords are forcing people to live in substandard, cramped conditions, purely so they can line their pockets.

“However, Southwark Council is working tirelessly to find unlicensed and rogue landlords and bring them to justice, as is clear with our successful prosecution of Mr Saniinejad and the resulting custodial sentence. I would urge you to contact us if you can help us to identify a rogue landlord.”

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    Does the prison sentence now clear his debts?
    Are his assets going to be sequestrated? If not then six months in jail is nothing to avoid paying the fine.

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