A family of slum landlords who crammed 31 people into a suburban four-bedroom house has been ordered to pay back almost £250,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Harsha Shah, her daughter Chandni, and brother-in-law Sanjay Shah, rented their four bedroom property in Wembley through estate agent Jaydipkumar Valand, receiving between £40 and £75 per week in cash over a five-year period by the tenants who resided in filthy and dangerous living conditions.
Harrow Crown Court heard how tenants were made to sleep in bunk beds, which blocked all fire exits, leaving the judge with little alternative but to order the POCA to recover criminal assets that the Shah family obtained.
Harsha Shah and her daughter were told to pay £116,000 in a confiscation order. Jaydipkumar Valand, who was acting as their agent and rent collector at the Napier Road property, was subjected to a £5,000 order.
Sanjay Shah was sentenced with his sister and niece to pay £41,000 in fines. All the defendants were ordered to pay £82,367 in costs.
The property was ruled to be an illegal HMO after a 2016 raid by a London Borough of Brent housing enforcement officer. They were found guilty of breaching landlord licensing rules in May 2017.
Cllr Eleanor Southwood commented: “We will use every legal power we have to come down hard on landlords and agents who exploit tenants in Brent.
“Every house in multiple occupation needs a licence, which helps to create decent living standards in the borough. We will track down landlords who do not licence their properties and rip off tenants by housing them in miserable conditions.”