‘Beds in sheds’ landlord Samina Nadeem must pay £450,000 after a court ruled she rented out illegal and substandard homes. This phenomenon of a minority of rogue landlords renting out properties that are either not meant as dwellings or are unfit for human habitation is particularly acute in London where rents are very high.
Between 2012 and 2015, Nadeem let former garages that she had converted to homes to up to five tenants at a time in West London.
After years of court hearings, Ealing Council won an order to demolish the buildings and saw her case go before a judge at Isleworth Crown Court to consider confiscating her assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Nadeem could not show her income over the past six years had come from a legal source, so the court made a confiscation order equal to the equity she holds in a portfolio of rental property – £447,552. She was also fined £18,000. She must pay by 18 January 2019, or face a four-year jail sentence.
Ealing Council believes this is the largest compensation order against a landlord. Councillor Joanna Camadoo, the 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.”