A buy-to-let landlord who allowed tenants to occupy rooms without windows after failing to get planning consent for a block of flats has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Talwinder Singh, 57, was refused permission to build a block of six flats on Waterbeach Road in Slough, SL1, but having pressed ahead with the construction of the properties, he disregarded the planning enforcement notice served in September 2010 by illegally renting out all six flats to tenants.
Singh claimed that the property had been returned to a single dwelling, in line with the enforcement notice, and informed the council of this change.
But the rogue landlord actually installed temporary kitchens in the flats which could be dismantled and removed when council officers visited. He removed windows on the attic floor to give the impression that the rooms were not let, therefore leaving the tenants, with children, without natural light.
The landlord also charged his tenants additional fees for council tax, despite claiming to Slough Council that it was a single property.
Joe Cart, director of regeneration at Slough Borough Council, commented: “People and families in Slough deserve good accommodation and landlords who are not overcharging them for services they are not providing.”
Singh was sentenced to a 15-month prison term at Reading Crown Court, suspended for 18 months. He was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £266,177, which included the illegally obtained rent money and unpaid council tax.
He was also ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work over 12 months. All the money needs to be paid within three months or he will face up to 30 months in jail.
“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,” said director of finance and resources at Slough Council, Neil Wilcox.
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