Think your landlord’s a nightmare? Think again…
Pity the tenants of the notorious Nicholas van Hoogstraten, who has made his fortune as a cruel slum landlord. Van Hoogstraten has served prison time for his wicked ways and is best mates with none other than Robert Mugabe.
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Infamous businessman and property magnate Nicholas van Hoogstraten gives most dodgy landlords a run for their money.
A judge in one of his many court cases branded him a self-styled demon, and his devilish landlord behaviour seems to back this up. Van Hoogstraten was quick to send in heavies if rent was late or he wanted tenants evicted. He once tore the roof off a property to get rid of the tenant, and one lady came back from hospital to find that her home had been left open for looters to have the lot.
In the late 1980s Van Hoogstraten faced multiple charges for harassing tenants in west London. He was accused of cutting off hot water and electricity supplies, kicking down doors in the middle of the night, and throwing tenants’ belongings into the streets.
But it wasn’t just tenants that Van Hoogstraten terrorised. In 1968 he was jailed for paying a gang to lob a grenade into the home of a synagogue official, and he was given further prison sentences for handling stolen goods and bribing prison officers.
In 2002 he was sentenced to ten years in prison for the manslaughter of businessman Mohammed Raja, who was killed by two men allegedly working for Van Hoogstraten after Raja had threatened to sue.
Van Hoogstraten was later acquitted, but in court was branded a psychopath, and his terrible treatment of his tenants was cited as proof of his propensity for violence.
Ramblers also risk incurring the wrath of the businessman. He’s been building a huge mansion, complete with mausoleum, in East Sussex for decades, and waging a verbal war against the people who walk the public footpaths across the land.
More recently though, Van Hoogstraten’s turned his attention to Zimbabwe, where he enjoys ownership of vast swathes of land and an apparently cosy relationship with despotic leader Robert Mugabe. He also said in 2012 that he’s ‘certainly not a rogue landlord anymore’ and that his ‘vast areas’ are ‘all managed professionally now’.
It seems like the tenants of southeast England may be safe for now. But if you ever need reassurance that your landlord isn’t so bad after all, or if you’re a landlord looking for an example of how not to run your properties, Nicholas Van Hoogstraten could be your man.
Editor’s note: Robert Mugabe resigned as President of Zimbabwe in 2017.