Man who illegally converted 2 homes into 8 flats must pay £73k or be jailed

Snaresbrook Crown Court where Jody Graber's knife conviction was overturned

Muhammad Saeed Baig was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court after admitting two charges of failing to comply with an enforcement notice - Credit: PA

A property manager who illegally converted two homes into eight flats without permission must pay back almost £74,000 of rental income - or face jail time.

Muhammad Saeed Baig, 59, was responsible for the management of two adjoining houses in Whalebone Lane South, Dagenham, which were purchased by a relative of his in 2017.

According to Barking and Dagenham Council, several applications made to convert the family homes into self-contained apartments were all rejected.

But council officers later discovered the properties had been split into five flats at one address and three at the other.

Enforcement notices requiring the houses to be returned to single-family dwellings were issued, but when officers visited in May 2019, the homes were still divided up.

Mr Baig, of Hathaway Gardens in Chadwell Heath, pleaded guilty at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court in March 2020 to two counts of failing to comply with an enforcement notice.

He was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday - June 6.

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Mr Baig was ordered to forfeit £73,850 in accrued proceeds of crime - rental income from the illegal flats - within three months or get nine months’ imprisonment in default of payment.

He was also fined £8,000 for breaching the two enforcement notices and ordered to pay £3,065 in costs - another £11,065 in total.

Cllr Syed Ghani, who is cabinet member for enforcement and community safety, said: "We will continue to take action against the small minority of landlords and letting agents who think they are above the law and can exploit our residents by putting profit ahead of people.

"We hope this sends a strong message to anyone who thinks they can operate outside the rules in Barking and Dagenham that we will find you and take action against you using all the powers available to us."