A landlord family in Wembley have been prosecuted for breaching council housing rules on overcrowding in rental properties.
Mother and daughter Harsha and Chandani Shah, and Mrs Harsha Shah’s brother, Sanjay Shah were found guilty of overcrowding tenants into a four-bedroom property in terrible conditions.
The landlord family had allowed 31 tenants to reside in the property in Napier road, and even had a woman living in a lean-to shed in the back garden.
The ‘Shed’ was simply put together with wood offcuts, pallets and tarpaulin, and had no heating or lighting available.
The overcrowding was discovered by Brent Council enforcement officers when they swooped on the property in July last year.
Council officers found some residents sharing a single bed with night workers swapping sleeping shifts with those who worked during the day. there were four beds piled into the front room and three in each bedroom of the property.
Another defendant, Jaydipkumar Valand, who collected the rent for the Shah family, had already pleaded guilty at a trial in December last year.
The landlord family had been collecting about £112,000 per year in rental payments from the tenants before the breach was discovered.
The judge at Willesden Magistrates Court said: ‘This trial has revealed how people desperate for accommodation in London can be exploited and have paid to live in grossly overcrowded, unhygienic and unsafe conditions.’
The judge ordered the defendants to pay Brent Council £35,000 in costs and the defendants will be sentenced in crown court at a later date.
Head of private housing services at Brent Council, Spencer Randolph, commented: ‘This judgement sends out a clear message that Brent has a zero-tolerance policy towards landlords who break the law and exploit vulnerable tenants.
‘The lean-to shack we found in the back garden of the property in July last year looked like something you would expect to find in a Hollywood depiction of a shanty town.
‘We will prosecute any landlord or agent we find housing tenants in cramped or hazardous conditions. Brent’s aim is to help renters by ensuring decent living conditions within the borough.’