A Kingsbury tenant who was illegally letting seven others stay in his house without his landlady's permission has been convicted after getting aggressive towards her and an officer when they discovered his secret.
Riken Patel, along with his wife and children, was renting a home in Brampton Avenue, NW9, but secretly letting Raj Patel and six others stay in the house.
But when confronted by a Brent Council housing enforcement officer, Riken and Raj became hostile and "aggressive", keeping him in the house against his will.
The shaken officer was let out after a 999 call was made and Metropolitan Police officers rushed to the house to escort him out.
When the officer was questioning the tenants, they became aggressive
Willesden Magistrates' Court heard that both men, despite being expressly forbidden to keep more people in the house, were "hostile" towards their landlady when she found out about the dangerously overcrowded house.
Riken even contacted Brent Council to falsely claim that the landlady had deliberately allowed the house to fall into disrepair.
In reality only the boiler and a window frame needed fixing – something the landlady was aware of and had tried to fix but had been turned away by the tenants.
To mediate, a Brent officer went to the property with the landlady and a gas engineer to install a new boiler.
The officer questioned the 10 people living in the property about the legitimacy of their tenancy, which led to the tenants becoming aggressive.
It was then that both Raj and Riken stopped the officer from leaving for 40 minutes until the police were called.
'Traumatic experience for officer'
Both Riken and Raj were convicted of obstruction.
Riken was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,318 – a total of £3,318. Raj, who did not turn up to court for sentencing, was fined £2,500.
Councillor Harbi Farah, Brent Council’s Lead Member for Housing, said: "This truly shocking case is a reminder of the risk that our officers are exposed to each day as they go about their vital work.
"Our officer was simply trying to help this innocent landlady get access to her property to make necessary repairs, which the tenants themselves had demanded.
"It was such a traumatic episode that the officer broke down in court while giving evidence.
"You might think that housing enforcement officers only go after rogue landlords, but this shows that unruly, aggressive tenants can be a problem too."
He added: "The vast majority of our landlords are decent, law abiding citizens who work cooperatively with their tenants.
"Our staff have the right to carry out their duties without fear of attack or abuse.
"We will always press for the strongest possible penalties against those who attack, threaten or abuse them."
The tenants, who have not paid their rent for the last five months, are due to be evicted.