A Southall landlord has been slapped with an enormous fine for repeatedly ignoring council orders to stop letting so-called ‘beds in sheds’ at one of her rental properties.
Samina Nadeem, of Malborough Road in Southall, was fined a total of almost £450,000 for flagrantly disregarding Ealing Council’s request to pull down the outhouses which she was renting to up to five tenants.
This is the second successful outbuildings prosecution involving Ealing Council in the last month. The crackdown has also seen a fine for Mubashar Ahmed of almost £42,000 for letting outbuildings at his rental property.
After purchasing 201 Scotts Road in Southall in 2012, Mrs Nadeem immediately let the outhouses, which were originally built as garages but were illegally converted to residences. Ealing Council issued Mrs Nadeem with a planning enforcement notice in August 2014, ordering her to stop letting the outhouses and ultimately demolish them.
After Mrs Nadeem ignored the enforcement notice, in September 2015 the council stepped in, demolishing the outbuildings and bringing a prosecution against her.
Having originally entered a not guilty plea at her trial at Ealing Magistrates’ Court, Mrs Nadeem was found guilty in February 2017. The case was then committed to Isleworth Crown Court for a confiscation order to be considered under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. That meant that that Mrs Nadeem needed to prove that her income over the preceding six years was legal.
Having failed to do that, on 18 October 2018 Mrs Nadeem received a confiscation order of £447,552.22 – equivalent to the total equity she owns in her portfolio of rental properties. This bill must be paid by 18 January 2019. If she fails to pay, Mrs Nadeem will receive an automatic four year prison sentence. She was also fined a further £18,000.
Councillor Joanna Camadoo, Ealing Council’s lead member for community safety and inclusion said: “We’re very pleased to get such a positive result at the end of a very long and drawn out case. Throughout this process Mrs Nadeem and her husband have been obstructive and at times aggressive, using every trick in the book to stop our officers from doing their job and delay the legal process. She completely ignored our requests to act within the law – indeed, the only reason she stopped letting these substandard buildings was because we demolished them.
“It’s a tragedy that tenants are being exploited in this way, forced to live in Dickensian conditions by unscrupulous landlords like Mrs Nadeem. This case is a warning to other property owners who think they can ignore the law – anyone who builds properties in our borough without planning permission can expect a knock on the door from our enforcement officers.”
“You can avoid that by making sure you have planning permission for any major changes to your property. Paying council tax is not the same as having planning permission. Failure to comply with planning notices is a criminal offence, so if we issue you with one, act on it before we hit you with a hefty fine and a criminal record.”
If you are concerned about an outhouse in your area or suspect there may be people living in one, please report it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.