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Prison and huge fine after "war of intimidation" waged on tenants

A landlord who waged what a local authority describes as “a war of intimidation” against tenants living in his property has been sentenced to four months imprisonment and ordered to pay costs and compensation of £20,000.

Rehan Sheikh was found guilty at Willesden Magistrates Court of illegally evicting the tenants from his property in Wembley, north London. 

Brent Council prosecuted him for the unlawful eviction of six occupiers, as well as for his failure to have a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) licence and for the poor conditions in the house which Brent enforcement officers found during an unannounced visit in January this year.

Sheikh, who is the landlord of eight properties in Brent, was convicted of all offences and sentenced to four months imprisonment and ordered to pay costs of £9,000 and compensation totalling £11,000 to the evicted tenants.

The court heard that although Sheikh was receiving almost £3,000 each month in rent, the property was in a state of terrible disrepair, with holes in ceilings, walls and floor and filthy carpets. The front of the property was also being used to dump rubbish. 

When the tenants started to complain about the condition of the premises, Sheikh fraudulently told the court that the tenants were squatters and unknown to him, and issued a claim to evict them.

Without telling the tenants about his plans, he obtained a possession order from the court and used it to evict the tenants in February, assaulting one of them in the process – a crime for which he was convicted in May. 

He gave all the tenants - including one with two young children – just two hours to move out, even 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.

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