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A Slough landlord has been given a suspended prison sentence for hiding tenants in illegal flats.
Despite failing to get planning permission from Slough Council for a block of six flats, landlord Talwinder Singh hid tenant families in windowless rooms in the flats in Manor Park, Slough.
Further to being served with a planning enforcement notice by the Council, Singh built the six flats and rented them out to tenants.
The rogue landlord informed Slough Council’s building control and tax departments that the building had been returned to a single house.
However, Singh kept the property as six flats and installed temporary kitchens which could be dismantled and removed when Slough Council officers visited. He also boarded the attic door and removed windows on the attic floor to give the impression that the rooms were not let, therefore leaving tenant families with children no natural light.
The landlord was also charging his tenants additional fees for council tax, despite claiming to Slough Council that it was a single property.
In court Singh admitted two charges of failure to comply with an enforcement notice and dishonestly making a false representation, contrary to the Fraud Act 2006, intending to make a gain for himself and’ causing a loss to Slough Borough Council.
The Judge at Reading Crown Court sentenced the landlord to a 15-month prison term, suspended for 18 months. He was also fined £25,000. Slough Council was awarded £18,826 compensation for lost council tax, and £23,130 in prosecution costs. Singh was also ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work over 12 months.
All monies were ordered to be paid within three months or the landlord would face up to 30 months in prison.
Director of finance and resources at Slough Council, Neil Wilcox, said: ‘This successful prosecution is a result of a thorough and painstaking investigation by the council fraud team and has led to the recovery of a significant amount of lost council tax.’