The confiscation order for £739,263.58 was handed to Mohammed Mehdi Ali of High Road, Willesden, following an investigation by Brent Council that revealed he had illegally converted properties he and his father owned into Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
A councillor leading the Brent planning team described the conditions in the properties as “horrible” and said it was some of “worst residential accommodation” planning officers had ever seen.
According to the Guardian, up to 15 people were living in some of the homes. In one property a family of four were living in one room, a family of three in another room and three single men shared another. Many of the tenants had come from eastern Europe and Brazil.
Ali’s father had been served an earlier confiscation order for £544,000 when in 2014 he was found to have earned money from illegal rental homes, two of which were the same properties included in this investigation. Salah Mahdi Ali was found to have converted four homes into 38 flats without consent.
The order was made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in Harrow Crown Court in February and sentencing was scheduled to take place this week. He was found guilty of failing to comply with planning enforcement notices in April 2018.
Ali was told by the court that he would face a prison term of five years and nine months if he did not pay the order in full within three months.
He was also ordered to pay Brent council £30,000.00 to cover legal costs.
Cllr Shama Tatler, lead member for regeneration, property and 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.”