Riaz (Harry Potter) Uddin tenants loses lease
SECTION 146 Successful forfeiture of a Lease
Philip Antino was instructed by Messrs A.A. Fisher (Properties) Ltd in relation to Mr Mohamed Riaz Uddin’s breaches of a lease for a property in East London. Having secured the leasehold interest in 2012, Mr (Harry Potter) Uddin became what could only be described as the ultimate tenant from hell.
The property comprised of a mixture of retail at ground floor, with residential accommodation extending over three floors above. Access to the residential area was through the shop and there were no provisions for sub-letting the premises.
Within a matter of weeks, Mr Uddin had sub-divided the retail area, and then sub-let to two tenants, he had separated the rear parts of the retail area from the front creating an independent access to the residential areas, and had converted outbuildings and garages into bedsits.
Not unsurprisingly, Mr Uddin did not obtain planning or building regulation approval or any approval or consent from the landlord. The building works were illegal undertaken to sub-standards, construction practice, no NICEIC certification for electrics or gas safety certificates were obtained.
The health and welfare facilities within the property were insufficient for the number of occupants that Mr Uddin had now encouraged to occupy the residential areas.
In a three bedroom flat with converted commercial outbuildings etc. Mr Uddin was sub-letting to 23 tenants who were paying conservatively £100 per week each for occupation plus additional commercial rental space for the two units at the front of the shop.
The standard and quality of the work would give a cowboy a bad name, proceedings were issued almost immediately after occupation by the landlord to seek forfeiture of the lease in late 2012. For the past 7 years Mr Uddin has evaded, avoided, bringing the matter to its full and natural conclusion before the Court for numerous reasons which are set out below.
However, in 2018 being branded as the Harry Potter landlord (cut and paste link) Mr Uddin was charged with numerous breaches of health and safety, and at Court pleaded guilty to a limited number of offences, for which he received a two year suspended prison sentence.
An Order was also issued under the Proceeds of Crime Act to recover money he had wrongfully, illegally, morally obtained for the rent of the sub-standard premises.
At earlier civil litigation by the landlord to recover the property, Mr Uddin had failed to turn up at Court offering excuses such as I am sorry my son broke his leg last night and I have had to take him to hospital, that turned out to be false.
On another occasion it was alleged that there was a bereavement in the family that turned out to be a false claim. On another occasion another bereavement and that turned out to be a false claim, but at all times the Court gave this tenant every opportunity to get his act together and comply with the lease, but simply failed.
The day of reckoning arrived rather ironically on Valentines Day (14th February 2019) when Mr Uddin arrived at the Court for the hearing he asked for permission to make an application for an adjournment. He claimed that he required an opportunity to seek legal representation and when asked why he was not legally represented when there was on the Court record a firm of solicitors, and his barrister had been in discussions with the landlord’s barrister regarding the hearing, he simply announced that “I was called at 4.30 last night and told that my solicitors could not be here today plus they wanted extra money which I could not get to them in time for today’s hearing”.
Then Mr Uddin changes his story altogether, claiming it is nothing to do with the money, but the solicitors said that could not be here for reasons which were unclear.
The Judge expressed some concern about that excuse and suggested they perhaps should ask senior partner to attend the Court immediately, as their offices were less than 10 minutes away.
At that time the clerk walked into the Court and handed the Judge papers of which the Judge then read aloud and it was a letter from Mr Uddin’s solicitors advising that at 4.00 pm on the 13th February they had been dis instructed by Mr Uddin and were therefore no longer acting on the record.
A completely altogether different set of circumstances as given by Mr Uddin, of which the Judge quite properly recognized that Mr Uddin had lied to the Court in order to simply delay matters.
The application for an adjournment was rejected.
The case then proceeded to deal with a number of issues including non-payment of rent and more importantly the request for forfeiture under section 146 which was granted and Mr Uddin will now have to vacate the premises.
Whilst the law moves slowly it does get there in the end and landlords should take heart from this judgment.
If you are a landlord with problems with a non-compliant/difficult tenant then contact Philip Antino and he will advise and assist you together with putting you in contact with the appropriate specialist legal teams to ensure that your property is returned to you or that the tenant complies with his lease obligations.