Press release from Brent Council
A Crown court judge has ordered a landlord to pay back £739,263.58 in illicit earnings made from overcrowded properties in Willesden. It is believed to be the largest such order for a planning breach made anywhere in the country so far this year.
The enormous order was made against Mohammed Mehdi Ali of High Road Willesden, following a prosecution brought by Brent council's legal team.
HHJ Wood, sitting at Harrow Crown Court, made the order against Mr Ali on Friday 12 February. He was told by the court that he would face a prison term of 5 years and 9 months if he did not pay the order in full within three months.
Mr Ali was found guilty of failing to comply with planning enforcement notices in April 2018 at Willesden Magistrates Court, after investigations by Brent's planning enforcement team. The case was then referred to Harrow Crown Court for confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Brent was represented in the crown court by Edmund Robb of Prospect Law.
Detailed investigations carried out by Brent's financial investigators and Brent's planning enforcement officers revealed the extent of the number of illegal dwellings created and the illicit earnings made by illegally renting out the properties, which were owned by Mr Ali and his father. The properties were used as houses in multiple occupation and as undersized flats.
Mr Ali was also ordered to pay Brent council £30,000.00 to cover its legal costs in the long-running case.
Cllr Shama Tatler, Lead Member for Regeneration, Property & Planning, said:
This is another huge win for Brent. The council will take robust action to prevent the creation of poor quality housing. This penalty sends a clear message that rogue landlords will not be allowed to get away with ignoring planning laws. The accommodation provided was some of the worst residential accommodation that officers have ever come across. Brent will not tolerate this type of behaviour, landlords providing such horrible conditions. Brent residents deserve better.
Sentencing for the enforcement notice breaches is adjourned until 1 March 2021.