Willesden landlord fined more than £700,000 for 'poor quality housing'
- Credit: Brent Council
A rogue landlord has been ordered to pay back nearly three quarters of a million pounds for illicit earnings from overcrowded properties in Willesden.
Mohammed Mehdi Ali, of High Road, has been ordered to pay back £739,263.58 plus costs at Harrow Crown Court on February 19 after being found guilty of planning breaches.
It is believed to be the largest such order for a planning breach made anywhere in the country so far this year, according to Brent Council.
The court heard Mr Ali would face a prison term of five years and nine months if he did not pay the order in full within three months.
The order was made against Mr Ali following a prosecution brought by Brent Council's legal team.
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Mr Ali was found guilty of failing to comply with planning enforcement notices in April 2018 at Willesden Magistrates Court, after investigations by Brent's planning enforcement team.
The case was then referred to Harrow Crown Court for confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
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Brent was represented in the crown court by Edmund Robb of Prospect Law.
Detailed investigations carried out by Brent's financial investigators and Brent's planning enforcement officers revealed illicit earnings made by renting out a high number of illegal dwellings owned by Mr Ali and his father.
The properties were used as houses of multiple occupation and as undersized flats.
Mr Ali was also ordered to pay Brent Council £30,000 to cover its legal costs.
Cllr Shama Tatler, Brent Council's lead member for regeneration, property and planning, said it was "another huge win for Brent".
"The council will take robust action to prevent the creation of poor quality housing," she added.
"This penalty sends a clear message that rogue landlords will not be allowed to get away with ignoring planning laws.
"The accommodation provided was some of the worst residential accommodation that officers have ever come across.
"Brent will not tolerate this type of behaviour, landlords providing such horrible conditions. Brent residents deserve better."
Sentencing for the enforcement notice breaches is adjourned until March 1.