Rogue landlord ordered to pay £340k for illegal house conversions in Dudley
A rogue landlord has been ordered to pay more than £340,000 after illegally converting several houses into bedsits and then ignoring council notices to undo the work.
A judge described Latif Rehman, who earns £150,000 a year from rental income, as ‘a significant player’ in the industry over many years, who knew that he was breaching planning regulations.
Rehman, aged 58, received £278,000 in tenants’ housing benefits from Dudley Council on four properties, three of them in Netherton and one in Wall Heath.
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard that he continued converting some houses into flats and bedsits even after being told to stop the work as he did not have planning permission. Prosecuting, Mr Mark Jackson said Dudley Council had ‘bent over backwards’ to help the landlord.
His flouting of the law came to light after calls from suspicious residents. Enforcement notices were served on Rehamn in relation to two adjoining properties in Cole Street, and one in Northfield Road, all in Netherton, and a fourth in Wolverhampton Road, Wall Heath. But in each case he ignored the notice and continued to rent them out.
The two Cole Street houses had each been turned into five flats and the other two both split into six flats. Mr Jackson said: “The local authority has bent over backwards to afford the defendant every opportunity to comply with the enforcement notices. He was given extension after extension and used the time to obtain more rent.”
Rehman,of Lordswood Road, Harborne, pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to comply with enforcement notices, was ordered to pay Dudley Council full compensation of £278,028 within three months or go to prison for three years, and fined a total of £40,000. He was also ordered to pay £25,898 prosecution costs. Recorder David Mason told him: “You are a significant player in the rental market, you knew about property law yet you blatantly disregarded the notices.”