Council secures £285,000 court fine for criminal landlord
A criminal landlord who took advantage of vulnerable tenants by cramming them into tiny flats above a Stoke Newington pub has received a conviction and been forced to pay back rental income as part of a £285,000 court fine after Hackney Council enforcement officers intervened.
Wood Green Crown Court heard how Ibrahim Has, owner and director of Has & Co. Properties, exploited Hackney’s housing shortage by squeezing 13 flats into the space above the Yucatan Pub at 121 Stoke Newington Road.
The illegal homes were as little as nine square metres in size – less than a quarter of the 37 square metre legal minimum.
In March 2022 Mr Has and a co-defendant had already pleaded guilty to failing to comply with Hackney Council’s planning enforcement notice after he ignored both an initial decision to refuse planning permission for the properties and a subsequent requirement for the properties to be removed by March 2019.
The Council then took court action to recoup the income received by Mr Has from the illegal properties after conducting a money laundering investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which allows income from criminal activities to be seized.
On 12 June 2023 the company and Mr Has were ordered to pay £284,675.90, including £15,000 for not complying with the planning enforcement notice, £8,110 in legal costs, and a confiscation order of £261,565.90 of illegal rental income he had received.
Hackney is facing a critical housing shortage, and it’s crucial that the Council does not allow people to exploit this crisis by cramming people into homes that don’t meet decent living standards.
We should all be proud of Hackney’s enforcement team for not just ensuring that these unacceptable properties have been removed, but for also setting a clear example to others that the Council has no truck with bad landlords and will not hesitate to secure a conviction to ensure that a criminal landlord won’t profit from their actions.
The illegal properties have now been removed, with one third of the fine retained by the Council to be used for its crime prevention work. This will also support the Council's #BetterRenting campaign and commitments to ensuring landlords provide good, safe and secure homes for their tenants and tackle the minority who fail to meet their legal duties.