A rogue landlord in Wembley has been sentenced to four months imprisonment and ordered to pay costs and compensation of £20,000 after illegally evicting his tenants.
Rehan Sheik was found guilty at Willesden Magistrates’ Court of illegally evicting the tenants from his property, 90 Wembley Park Drive. Brent Council prosecuted the rogue landlord for the unlawful eviction of six tenants, as well as for failing to obtain a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) license and for the
poor conditions of the property, which enforcement officers discovered during an unannounced visit in January 2016.
Sheikh, who is the landlord of eight properties in Brent, was convicted of all offences and sentenced to four months imprisonment and ordered to pay costs of £9,000 and compensation totalling £11,000 to the evicted tenants.
The court heard that although Sheikh was receiving around £3,000 each month in rent, the property was in a terrible state of disrepair, with holes in ceilings, walls and the floor, and filthy carpets. The front of the property was also being used to dump rubbish. When the tenants complained about the condition of the property, Sheikh fraudulently told the court that the tenants were squatters and issued a claim to evict them.
Without informing the tenants of his plans, Sheikh obtained a possession order from the court and used it to evict the tenants in February 2016, assaulting one of them in the process – a crime for which he was convicted in May 2016. Sheikh gave all of the tenants, including one with two young children, just two hours to move out, even refusing to allow a tenant to wait until their children had returned from school.
The Brent Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Harbi Farah, says: “This was an appalling case which caused great distress to the victims and demonstrates the necessity of our private sector licensing scheme. Good tenants and their children were forced from their home by this heartless landlord’s deliberate actions.
“Our ground-breaking licensing scheme, which has been running since January 2015, is helping us to tackle poor standards in the private rented sector and focus on the minority of unscrupulous landlords who refuse to comply with the law. However, as this case shows, we also need to look at the eviction practices of some of the landlords operating in the borough. Brent Council will not tolerate this kind of criminal behaviour and we will prosecute any landlord or agent we find treating their tenants in such a despicable way.”
Sheikh, who pleaded guilty to all of the charges, has since appealed the custodial sentence and has been granted bail pending the appeal hearing.
Since the start of this year, the council has considerably increased its enforcement activity, carrying out two to five prosecutions per week, and with many more raids expected in the coming months.