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Ouch! Landlord hit with £1.4m Proceeds of Crime penalty

A landlord who was involved in a decade-long dispute with a London council has been hit with a £1.44 million penalty after repeatedly breaking planning laws. 

Ali Bahbahani has been ordered to pay £1,283,444 for converting a home to create flats, including an extension, in Ealing, west London. 

He had not secured planning consent and had refused to stop using the property and accept the unauthorised extensions should be demolished.


The authority secured the confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The council has repeatedly issued court applications to have the property restored to its original condition for some 10 years.

The case was heard at several courts before finally being concluded at Isleworth Crown Court - at which it was revealed that someone impersonating the landlord had attended the initial hearings. Bahbahani, who lives overseas, failed to appear in person.

A council spokesperson says: “You must make sure you have planning permission for major changes of any sort to your property. Failure to do so will result in court action and, as we have seen, can be very costly.”

The council will also be recovering some £16,000 in unpaid council tax and business rates, and will work with a receiver to recover costs. It will also be working with the Ealing property’s new owner to resolve the illegal building works.

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    He should have had planning permission & Building Regulations approval.
    He should have attended Court and face the music and getting someone to impersonate is outrageous no wonder they threw the book at him.
    There’s a lot of illegal stuff in Ealing including back garden Flats. What really peed me off they are not satisfied with Building illegally but encroach on to the Service Alleyways at the back making them nearly impossible to use not withstanding the fact they have long gardens and no need for this other than greed. To be fair to the Ealing Council they have demolished quite a few.
    Anyway the Article I suppose he had provided much needed accommodation illegally or not but had he declared and paid income tax on it. I am reading this story on landlords today but my wife seems to know more about it than me apparently it was a TV news story .

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    It is good that they went for him for proceeds of crime as well as the enforcement because in many cases (one on this platform relatively recently), the fines are miniscule compared to the profits made by rogue landlords in the meantime. This is especially so given the length of time cases can take to come to court. If the financial benefit of being this kind of rogue was taken away there may be fewer bad landlords to give the rest of us a bad name.
    Also noted that this was all achieved under existing legislation.


    It will also be working with the Ealing property’s new owner to resolve the illegal building works. Let's hope that doesn't take another ten years.

    • S S
    • 28 February 2024 11:11 AM

    Agree entirely with sentiment. The fines need to be greater than the financial benefits. However, the chances of getting the money are probably small. The article suggests the building has a new owner (who would buy a building with that going on) and Mr Bahbahani lives abroad.
    It's a shame that it takes so long - that's half the battle. Action against Rogue Landlords needs to be quicker.
    Existing legislation works and can deal with Rogue Landlords but it seems that some councils and all government ministers aren't aware of this by the amount of new legislation and regulation that they keep suggesting. Regulation that is often not joined up!
    RoPA is wanted by the industry but that wont stop Rogue Landlords unless RoPA includes incentives for Landlords to use a regulated professional, or Landlords have the option of becoming regulated by meeting the standards required by everyone and anyone working in the industry.
    No one without some qualification should be allowed to work in the industry and landlords should have the option of either being sufficiently qualified or being able to engage a professional who is.


    @ S S
    They are a bit like the plod in London complaining that they don't have powers to deal with the Saturday marchers - they do. The governmentb then creates new laws to make sure that they can act and plod doesn't use them.

    This is symptomatic of all officialdom currently. Border Farce, local Councils etc all complain that they are powerless, yet the powers are there if only they were used.

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    I wonder if that new owner is a family member, what's the betting they are


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