The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) has been used for the first time by a council in England, against criminal landlords who crammed 31 tenants into filthy and dangerous living conditions.
In a case heard at Harrow Crown Court last week, His Honour Recorder Rubin QC ordered that the POCA could be used by Brent Council, in order to recover criminal assets that the Shah family obtained for breaching licensing conditions.
This means that landlords Harsha Shah, daughter Chandrni Shah and brother-in-law Sanjay Shah will now have to pay a confiscation order that could amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds, for financial benefit gained/saved as result of contraventions of the Management of HMO regulations 2006, and breaches of licensing conditions.
This will cover the cost of repairs the landlords neglected to fix, as well as the financial gain that was made from their crimes.
During a raid which took place in July 2016, Brent Council officers discovered a woman living in lean-to shack, next to the four bedroom property, on Napier Road, Wembley.
The makeshift shack, which was built from wood offcuts, pallets and tarpaulin, had no heating or lighting.
Last month, Sanjay Shah lost his appeal against the charge of aiding and abetting the breaches of a term of the selective licensing attached to the property on Napier Road.
Mr Shah also lost his appeal against his conviction for contraventions of the Management of HMO Regulations 2006.
Jaydipkumar Valand, who collected around £112,000 rent from the tenants for the Shah family in 2015 to 2016, may also be ordered to repay any financial benefit gained under this POCA ruling.
What is the Proceeds of Crime Act?
The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 can be used for recovering criminal assets. Criminal confiscation is the most commonly used power, and this occurs after a conviction has taken place.
The Act was introduced sixteen years ago to deny criminals the use of their assets, to recover the proceeds of crime and to ‘disrupt and deter’ criminality.
Find out more
The RLA runs a course for Landlords on the Principles of HMOs. On the course, landlords can learn about additional requirements that come with managing a HMO property, as well as gaining an understanding about how civil penalties work, and how to avoid them. The course has dates in London and Manchester. To find and out more and book, check this out.