A rogue landlord, who used a fake name to evade the law, has been slammed with a huge £485,000 worth of fines after he was found illegally renting out a large shed as five flats.
Yehuda Levhar of Sudbury Court Road, Sudbury, had also previously pleaded guilty to renting out a house at the same premises as two flats without planning permission at Hendon Magistrates Court in 2021.
Brent was tipped off by neighbours who reported the property in Harrow Road, Sudbury, to the council in 2013. Officers served a planning enforcement notice to stop the premises being rented out as seven flats, but the landlord failed to comply with the notice.
Tenants told officers that their landlord was called Barry Jacobs, but officers were only able to locate “Barry” in 2016 and were unable to prove who he was. The premises was later registered with the land registry under the name of Yehuda Levhar.
In 2020, officers successfully tracked down Mr Levhar and were able to take him to court. Due to the complexities of the case, this week’s successful prosecution took three years of court hearings. Judge Sherrard KC ordered Mr Levhar to pay £60,000 in costs to the council, £1,000 fine to the court and a £424,000 confiscation order to the government for the criminal profit he made over several years.
Councillor Harbi Farah, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities and Public Protection at Brent Council said: “Yehuda Levhar has felt the force of the law for choosing to rip off tenants, house them in appalling conditions and ignore planning regulations. This is sort of exploitation is illegal and we will root out every last landlord in Brent who acts like this.
“We will utilise in full force our recently granted borough-wide licensing, which will enable us to improve standard of living for renters in Brent, and give landlords clear guidance on what responsibilities are expected of them to safeguard renters’ security.”