Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

'Worst of the worst' landlord fined £45,000 over 'atrocious' Leyton flats

Arbab Ahmed is one of the worst landlords the council has ever seen

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The converted shop and (inset) the attic where two men slept (credit: WF Council)
By Victoria Munro 22 February 2022

A rogue landlord who forced Leyton tenants to live in “atrocious conditions” and cut off their hot water and heating when they complained has been fined £45,000.A rogue landlord who forced Leyton tenants to live in “atrocious conditions” and cut off their hot water and heating when they complained has been fined £45,000.

Arbab Ahmed, from Ilford, was taken to court by Waltham Forest Council for breaking ten different housing laws, concluding a case against him that lasted two and a half years.Arbab Ahmed, from Ilford, was taken to court by Waltham Forest Council for breaking ten different housing laws, concluding a case against him that lasted two and a half years.

Ahmed had secretly rented a former shop in Vicarage Road to a family and shoddily converted three floors above it into a flat for six men, adding a poorly constructed and unfinished extension and forcing two men in the unfurnished attic to access their beds via a ladder.Ahmed had secretly rented a former shop in Vicarage Road to a family and shoddily converted three floors above it into a flat for six men, adding a poorly constructed and unfinished extension and forcing two men in the unfurnished attic to access their beds via a ladder.

Council officers first visited the shop in 2019 after one of his tenants complained, after which Ahmed removed the property’s hot water and heating. Council officers first visited the shop in 2019 after one of his tenants complained, after which Ahmed removed the property’s hot water and heating. 

The attic where two men slept (credit: WF Council)The attic where two men slept (credit: WF Council)

The council also found evidence of rats, a leaking waste pipe, a defective smoke alarm, a faulty boiler, inadequate locks and no fire doors. The council took over the property a month later, forbidding Ahmed from entering it or contacting any of his tenants.The council also found evidence of rats, a leaking waste pipe, a defective smoke alarm, a faulty boiler, inadequate locks and no fire doors. The council took over the property a month later, forbidding Ahmed from entering it or contacting any of his tenants.

Finding Ahmed guilty in his absence last December, District Judge William Nelson called him “duplicitous” and said he had “deceived” vulnerable people on low incomes who did not speak English as a first language, limiting their ability to complain. Finding Ahmed guilty in his absence last December, District Judge William Nelson called him “duplicitous” and said he had “deceived” vulnerable people on low incomes who did not speak English as a first language, limiting their ability to complain. 

He found Ahmed had caused a “significant degree of harm” to those living in the property, adding: “Nobody should be in a house where they are sleeping next to rodent droppings.”He found Ahmed had caused a “significant degree of harm” to those living in the property, adding: “Nobody should be in a house where they are sleeping next to rodent droppings.”

Cllr Louise Mitchell, the council’s cabinet member for housing said Arbab Ahmed is “among the worst of the worst landlords that our team has ever encountered”.Cllr Louise Mitchell, the council’s cabinet member for housing said Arbab Ahmed is “among the worst of the worst landlords that our team has ever encountered”.

The council found a leaking waste pipe in the bathroom (WF Council)The council found a leaking waste pipe in the bathroom (WF Council)

She added: “The tenants in his property were living in appalling, dangerous and unsanitary conditions, and when they raised complaints, they were harassed by the landlord as he tried to avoid taking responsibility for his actions.She added: “The tenants in his property were living in appalling, dangerous and unsanitary conditions, and when they raised complaints, they were harassed by the landlord as he tried to avoid taking responsibility for his actions.

“We will always use the full extent of our powers to crack down on landlords who try to exploit their tenants, but cases like this show once again the very real need to ensure that landlords are registered, so that people like Ahmed are stopped from treating innocent people in this way.”“We will always use the full extent of our powers to crack down on landlords who try to exploit their tenants, but cases like this show once again the very real need to ensure that landlords are registered, so that people like Ahmed are stopped from treating innocent people in this way.”

The judge fined Ahmed £45,000 and also ordered him to pay the council’s prosecution costs of £14,404.08. The judge fined Ahmed £45,000 and also ordered him to pay the council’s prosecution costs of £14,404.08. 

His managing agent Centaurus Estates, trading as Eden Homes, were fined £3,700 and ordered to pay more than £1,500 of the council’s costs after pleading guilty to housing offences.His managing agent Centaurus Estates, trading as Eden Homes, were fined £3,700 and ordered to pay more than £1,500 of the council’s costs after pleading guilty to housing offences.

All Ahmed’s tenants have since been rehoused by Waltham Forest Council.All Ahmed’s tenants have since been rehoused by Waltham Forest Council.