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A Barking landlord has been given a prison sentence for forging documents after illegally converting three houses into houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
The Barking landlord, Siddarth Mahajan, who actually resides in Ilford, Essex, converted a three-bedroom property in Sherwood Gardens, Barking, into an HMO without planning permission.
This was discovered after an investigation by Barking and Dagenham Council when building work was carried out at the property with planning.
However, Mr Mahajan claimed that the property had been in use as an HMO for more than a decade, therefore making him immune from enforcement action.
To this end the Barking landlord supplied the council with tenancy agreements, a letter from an estate agent and a sworn affidavit to confirm that the property had been an house of multiple occupancy dating back to 2008.
On closer inspection however, the council found that the supplied documents were actually forgeries.
Two other Barking properties that the rogue Barking landlord had converted without consent were also discovered, and similar documents supplied to again claim that the properties had been HMOs for over ten years were also found to be forgeries.
The landlord was prosecuted at Snaresbrook Crown Court on two counts of perverting the course of justice and three counts of using copies of forged documents. He was found guilty by the jury and sentenced to 16 months in Prison.
Judge Gordon told Mahajan that he had ‘planned sophisticated criminal activity over a lengthy period’ and was motivated solely by greed.
After the case, cabinet member for environment and community safety, Cllr Margaret Mullane, said: ‘This dishonest landlord repeatedly refused to comply with the law and we pursued all the legal avenues that were available to us to ensure that he was brought to justice.’
She added: ‘We will continue to crack down on rogue landlords to improve standards and to ensure tenants have a decent home.’