"This dishonest landlord repeatedly refused to comply with the law"
Siddarth Mahajan, aged 38, of Ilford, was jailed for 16 months at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday, January 31, 2019, for forging planning permission documents.
He used the documents to convert three family homes into Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
Mahajan bought a three-bedroom property in Sherwood Gardens, Barking, in July 2015.
Barking and Dagenham Council officers first became suspicious when building work was done at the property without planning permission.
Their investigation revealed the property had been turned into an HMO.
Mahajan claimed the property had been in use as an HMO for more than 10 years so he was exempt from enforcement action.
He produced tenancy agreements, a letter from an estate agent and a sworn affidavit which appeared to show that property had been an HMO since 2008.
However, the council’s investigation team found that all the documents presented were forged.
Tenancy agreements and sworn affidavits from alleged previous tenants were also forged.
At a later date, investigators examined other properties owned by Mahajan.
He had purchased two further properties as family houses in St Erkenwald Road and Ripple Road. He also converted them into HMOs without securing planning permission.
Again, Mahajan claimed that the properties had been in continuous use as HMOs for over 10 years. Therefore he was immune from enforcement action.
He submitted evidence including tenancy agreements and sworn affidavits from alleged previous tenants. They were also bogus and the affidavits were untrue.
After Mahajan declined to attend several interviews, he was arrested and interviewed under caution.
Councillor Margaret Mullane, a 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 brought to justice.
“We will continue to crack down on rogue landlords to improve standards and to ensure tenants have a decent home.”
Mahajan was found guilty on two counts of perverting the course of justice and three counts of using copies of forged documents.
Judge Gordon told Mahajan that he had “planned sophisticated criminal activity over a lengthy period” and was motivated solely by greed.
Siddarth Mahajan was jailed for 16 months.
Venkata Munnaluri, of 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.
He was sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.
Munnaluri was ordered to pay £300 in costs, a £115 victim surcharge and had to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work.