Image
Fine

Managing agent ordered to pay back thousands from illegally converted homes or face prison sentence

A property manager who illegally converted two family homes into eight flats without permission has been given three months to stump up £73,850 – or face nine months behind bars. 
 
Muhammad Saeed Baig, 59, of Hathaway Gardens, Chadwell Heath, was responsible for the management of two adjoining houses in Whalebone Lane South, Dagenham, which had been purchased by his relative in 2017. 
 
Despite several rejected applications to convert the homes into self-contained apartments, Barking and Dagenham Council officers later discovered the properties had been split into five flats at one address and three at the other. 
 
Two enforcement notices were issued requiring the properties be returned to single-family dwellings, but on a visit in May 2019, officers found the homes remained divided.
 
Mr Baig appeared at Barkingside Magistrates in March 2020 where he pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to comply with the requirements of an enforcement notice. 
 
At Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday 6 June 2022, Mr Baig was ordered to forfeit £73,850 in accrued proceeds of crime from the rental income of the illegal flats with three months to pay or a nine-month imprisonment by default. He was also fined £8,000 for breaching the two enforcement notices and ordered to pay £3,065 in costs. 
 
Councillor Syed Ghani, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety, said: “We will continue to take action against the small minority of landlords and letting agents who think they are above the law and can exploit our residents by putting profit ahead of people. 
 
“We hope this sends a strong message to anyone who thinks they can operate outside the rules in Barking and Dagenham that we will find you and take action against you using all the powers available to us.”
 
Anyone privately renting out a property in Barking and Dagenham must have obtained a licence from the council. More information can be found at lbbd.gov.uk/private-rented-property-licensing