A landlord has been ordered to pay in excess of £235,000 for renting out illegal bedsits in east London after pleading guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court last week.
The proceeds of crime application was brought before the court by Barking and Dagenham Council after it materialised that Zoofshan Malik of Upney Lane in Barking was unlawfully renting out the flats in a breach of a planning enforcement notice, regarding an illegal extension to her property in Longbridge Road.
Malik was renting out the four flats in substandard conditions at a monthly rent of £2,850 through her own letting agency, Emerson Knight Estates Ltd.
Councillor Laila Butt, cabinet member for community safety and enforcement, said: “This is a victory for decent landlords and law abiding estate agents. It reflects the magnificent work of our legal team, BDT Legal, and our diligent investigation and enforcement officers whose determination and forensic use of evidence led to this excellent outcome.
“It’s more evidence that this council will relentlessly pursue rogue landlords in our resolve to stand up for decent housing standards.”
Recorder Smith ordered the 47-year-old to pay the £222,000 Confiscation Order – under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 – in three months or face two years’ imprisonment.
He also fined her £2,000 for the illegal extension, with three months to pay or face 30 days in jail and ordered Malik to pay £11,649 in costs.
Officers from the council’s planning enforcement team raided the property as a result of an anonymous allegation about the 37ft extension, and found the four flats being rented out in substandard conditions.
It is estimated that the rental income Malik derived from the illegal extension totalled in the region of £108,000.
Cllr Butt added: “Through our tough enforcement action they have been demolished so no one else has to suffer such bad living conditions.
“What makes matters worse is her connection to the estate agency – she knew the law and was intentionally exploiting people who find it hard enough to find property to rent at affordable prices.”