Jailed: ‘Greedy’ Barking landlord from Ilford who forged documents TWICE in bid to outwit investigators
PUBLISHED: 12:32 15 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:32 15 February 2019
A ‘greedy’ rogue landlord who converted three family homes into houses in multiple occupation without planning permission has been jailed for forging documents.
Siddarth Mahajan from Milton Crescent, Ilford, bought a three-bedroom property in Sherwood Gardens, Barking, in July 2015.
Barking and Dagenham Council officers first suspected something was up when building work was done at the property without planning permission.
Their investigation revealed the property had been turned into a house in multiple occupation (HMO).
Cllr Margaret Mullane, cabinet member for environment and community safety, 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.
“We will continue to crack down on rogue landlords to improve standards and to ensure tenants have a decent home.”
Mahajan, 38, claimed the property had been in use as an HMO for more than 10 years so he was immune from enforcement action.
He produced tenancy agreements, a letter from an estate agent and a sworn affidavit which appeared to show that the property had been a HMO as far back as 2008.
But the council’s investigations team revealed all the documents were forgeries.
The council sleuths then discovered Mahajan had also converted two properties in St Erkenwald Road and Ripple Road, Barking without permission too.
But he claimed again that they were HMOs for more than 10 years and were immune from enforcement action.
Tenancy agreements and sworn affidavits from alleged previous tenants were also forged.
A jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court found Mahajan guilty on two counts of perverting the course of justice and three counts of using copies of forged documents.
He was sentenced to 16 months on January 31.
Judge Gordon told Mahajan that he had “planned sophisticated criminal activity over a lengthy period” and was motivated solely by greed. A caretaker at one of Mahajan’s properties, Venkata Munnaluri from Academy Way, Dagenham, provided a false affidavit for the property in Sherwood Gardens, Barking.
On March 9, 2018 at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court, Munnaluri pleaded guilty to making a false statement on oath and was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months.
He was ordered to pay £300 costs, a £115 victim surcharge and ordered to carry out 140 hours unpaid work.