A Wembley landlord who waged a war of intimidation against tenants living in his property has been sentenced to four months imprisonment and ordered to pay costs and compensation of £20,000.
Rehan Sheikh of Manor Drive, Wembley, illegally threw out the six tenants, including one who had two young children, after giving them just two hours to leave the rundown House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) on Wembley Park Drive.
Sheikh, who owns eight properties in Brent, refused pleas to wait until the children had returned from school during the eviction in February this year. He also ignored the mandatory 28-day notice needed to give to the tenants, kicking them out on the same day instead.
During the eviction Sheikh even attacked one of his tenants and was convicted of assault at a previous trial in May.
Willesden Magistrates’ Court heard he had falsely obtained a possession order from the court to carry out the evictions by pretending that the tenants were squatters and unknown to him. This came after his tenants complained about the damp property which was in a state of terrible disrepair, with holes in ceilings, walls and floor and filthy carpets.
The front garden of the property, which he was receiving almost £3,000 per month in rents and had failed to obtain a mandatory HMO licence for, was also filled with dumped rubbish, furniture and household goods.
Sheikh 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 case follows on from a raid carried out at the beginning of July, where 17 men were found to be living in a 3 bedroom house and was reported on by Sky News.
Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “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 charges, has since appealed the custodial sentence and been granted bail pending the appeal hearing.
Since the start of this year, the council has ramped up its enforcement activity, with between two to five prosecutions each week, and many more raids and prosecutions are expected in the coming months.
If you suspect that someone is renting out an unlicensed property in Brent you can report them anonymously online.