A landlord is being ordered to pay a fine of nearly £135,000 or face time in prison after illegally converting a three-bedroom house into two flats.
Akram Hussain, 57, converted the family home in Barking, into a one-bed flat and two-bed flat. However, he failed to secure planning permission for the build.
The Walthamstow landlord earned £129,755.15 in rental fees through his exploitation of building regulation, something Councillor Laila Butt heavily criticised.
She commented: ‘Mr Hussain demonstrated a flagrant disregard for the law,” she said. ‘We have procedures in place to protect people and ensure that all work meets fire regulations and safety measures. The majority of landlords in our borough are responsible but we will not hesitate to take action against the few who think they can put profit ahead of people.’
Hussain’s illegal activity was noted following an investigation by Barking and Dagenham Council. The council received 37.5 per cent of the proceeds from the confiscation order.
Hussain was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court under Section 179 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. He was ordered to pay a fine of £5,000, as well as the £129,755.15 he earned through illegal endeavours. The money had been paid into his account as ‘unidentified cash’, earning him £1,925 per month. Failure to repay this sum within three months will lead to the rogue landlord facing 12 months in prison. Furthermore, if the £5,000 fine is not settled within six months then a six-month prison sentence is also on the cards.
A spokesman for the council explained that the money will be ‘reinvested into efforts to tackle such rogue landlords.’ The government will receive 50 per cent of the proceeds and 12.5 per cent will pay for the court costs incurred.
Ms Butt continued: ‘This latest victory sends a strong message that we will not tolerate rogue landlords in Barking and Dagenham. The council is determined to stand up for decent housing standards for our residents and we will continue our pursuit to clamp down on those who are looking to exploit people.’