A woman who repeatedly ignored council orders to stop renting ‘beds in sheds’ has been ordered to pay back almost £450,000 - the equivalent of six years’ income from the rental properties.
Samina Nadeem refused to demolish the converted garages on Scotts Road, Southall, west London, which she claimed were vacant, but was found to be housing at least five tenants and a child in what Ealing Council described as “Dickensian conditions”.
Nadeem, who now faces a potential jail sentence, was ordered to demolish the buildings in August 2014 but refused to do so for over a year, leaving the council with little alternative but to take legal action against her.
The rogue landlord was found guilty at Ealing Magistrates' Court in February 2017.
Now she has received a confiscation order from Isleworth Crown Court of £447,552.22 and been fined a further £18,000, after failing to prove that she was legally entitled to receive six years of income since first letting the garages in 2012.
Cllr Joanna Camadoo said: “We’re very pleased to get such a positive result at the end of a very long and drawn out case.
“Throughout this process Mrs Nadeem and her husband have been obstructive and at times aggressive, using every trick in the book to stop our officers from doing their job and delay the legal process.
“She completely ignored our requests to act within the law – indeed, the only reason she stopped letting these substandard buildings was because we demolished them.
“It’s a tragedy that tenants are being exploited in this way, forced to live in Dickensian conditions by unscrupulous landlords like Mrs Nadeem.
“This case is a warning to other property owners who think they can ignore the law – anyone who builds properties in our borough without planning permission can expect a knock on the door from our enforcement officers.
“Paying council tax is not the same as having planning permission and failure to comply with planning notices is a criminal offence. If we issue you with one, act on it before we hit you with a hefty fine and a criminal record.”
Nadeem has until 18 January 2019 to pay the bill or face serving four years in prison.