A Wembley landlord who illegally evicted tenants from his property has been sentenced to four months' imprisonment and ordered to pay costs of £20,000.
Rehan Sheikh, of Manor Drive, was found guilty at Willesden Magistrates Court of illegally evicting six tenants from his property at Wembley Park Drive and was ordered to pay £9,000 in costs and £11,000 in compensation.
Sheikh, who is the landlord of eight properties in Brent , was prosecuted by Brent Council for his unlawful eviction of six tenants, as well as for his failure to have a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) licence and for the poor conditions in the house discovered by Brent enforcement officers during an unannounced visit in January 2016.
The court heard that, although Sheikh was receiving £3,500 per month in rent, the property was in a state of disrepair with the front of the house being used to dump rubbish.
When tenants of the property started to complain to Sheikh about the condition of the property, he fraudulently told the courts that the tenants were squatters and unknown to him, and issued a claim to evict them.
Sheikh then obtained a possession order from the court and used it to evict the tenants in February 2016, assaulting one of them in the process, a crime for which he was convicted in May 2016, giving all the tenants - including one with two young children – just two hours to move out, refusing requests to wait until children had returned from school.
Sheikh, who pleaded guilty to all charges, has since appealed the custodial sentence and been granted bail pending the appeal hearing.
Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent Cabinet Member for Housing, said: "This was an appalling case which caused great distress to the victims and demonstrates the necessity of our private sector licensing scheme. Good tenants and their children were forced from their home by this heartless landlord’s deliberate actions.
"Our ground-breaking licensing scheme, which has been running since January 2015, is helping us to tackle poor standards in the private rented sector and focus on the minority of unscrupulous landlords who refuse to comply with the law.
"However as this case shows, we also need to look at the eviction practices of some of the landlords operating in the borough. Brent Council will not tolerate this kind of criminal behaviour and we will prosecute any landlord or agent we find treating their tenants in such a despicable way."