Southwark landlord ordered to pay £24,000 or face 9-month prison sentence

Friday, February 5th, 2016 - Southwark Council

A landlord, who rented out an illegally converted property, has been ordered to pay a £24,159 confiscation order. The property in Peckham was illegally converted into two small flats, forcing tenants to live in cramped sub-standard living conditions.

Mr Majid Saniinejad (54) of Stoke Newington must also pay fines of £2,500 and £16,886 in costs after being found guilty of unfair trading offences last year following an joint investigation Southwark Council’s trading standards and planning enforcement officers (read here).

It was found that Mr Saniinejad and his company Hertford (UK) Limited rented out the flats without telling tenants that the property was subject to planning enforcement notices. The court found that this was a breach of professional diligence requirements and also constituted ‘misleading omissions’. The defendant also pleaded guilty to an offence under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for ignoring the council’s warning to return the two flats back into one unit.

Mr Saniinejad has up to three months to make a payment, failure to do so could result in a nine months prison sentence.

Following the trial, Southwark Council officers applied for a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act which took place on 28 January 2016 at Croydon Crown Court.

The District Judge determined that the criminal benefit amounted to the total amount of rent Mr Saniinejad had received after entering into one agreement knowing the flat was subject to a planning notice and renewing the other knowing he had lost an appeal against the notice.

In sentencing the District Judge commented that the case involved “flagrant breaches” and a “deliberate flouting of the law” adding that Mr Saniinejad did not act as a “prudent and responsible landlord”.

Cllr Richard Livingstone, cabinet member for housing, said:

Sadly some landlords, like Mr Saniinejad, are exploiting the current housing crisis for their own selfish gains. It’s disgraceful that any tenant should be made to live in sub-standard conditions with barely any breathing space. Southwark Council will continue to use every resource available to make rogue landlords pay for their crimes.