08:44AM, Wednesday 27 March 2019
A landlord who kept tenants in illegal flats has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Talwinder Singh, 57, of Middlegreen Road, Langley, hid families in windowless rooms after failing to get planning permission for a block of flats in Waterbeach Road, Manor Park, Slough.
Singh build the six flats in Waterbeach Road, Manor Park and rented them out to tenants despite being served with a planning enforcement notice in September 2010. However he claimed the building had been returned to a single house and informed the council's building control and tax departments.
Singh installed temporary kitchens in the flats which would be dismantled and removed when council officers visited and the attic door would be boarded up. He removed windows on the top floor attic to give the impression the rooms were not being rented out - leaving tenants with children without any natural light.
He also charged tenants an additional fee for council tax despite only paying the council the one property he had declared.
Singh admitted two charges of failure to comply with an enforcement notice between December 2011 and December 2017, under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, and dishonestly making a false representation in December 2012, contrary to the Fraud Act 2006, intending to make a gain for himself and /or cause a loss to Slough Borough Council.
Judge Paul Dugdale, sitting at Reading Crown Court sentenced Singh to a 15 month prison term, suspended for 18 months. He was also fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £266,177.
The council was awarded £18,826 in compensation for lost council tax and £23,130 in prosecution costs during the hearing on Thursday, March 21.
He was also ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work over 12 months. All monies would have to be paid within three months or he will face up to 30 months in jail.
Neil Wilcox, director of finance and resources said: “This successful prosecution is a result of a thorough and painstaking investigation by the council’s fraud team and has lead to the recovery of a significant amount of lost council tax.
“Singh told the tenants he was paying their council tax when it actually went directly into his pocket.
“He was prepared to inconvenience tenants, some of whom had young children, by removing evidence from the flats and making them go without kitchen facilities, in an attempt to defraud the council.”
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