9:36 AM, 13th March 2012, About 12 years ago
Fraudster Rose Chimuka conned landlords of out of more than £100,000 by posing as a mum to rent their homes and then sub-letting them to dozens of tenants.
She was jailed for four years and three months at Croydon Crown Court after admitting 11 fraud charges.
The court was told Chimuka, 32, posed as a mum of three who wanted to let a home for her family to six London landlords using various aliases.
As soon as she was given keys to the buy to let homes, she changed the locks and changed them in to unlicensed houses of multiple occupation (HMO) without permission from the landlords.
She then moved tenants in and kept the rents for herself.
Her frauds came to light when local councils quizzed the landlords about running unlicensed HMOs.
One landlord lost rents for several months and had to pay legal and repair costs of £42,120, after letting her £800,000 family home to Chimuka while working in Hong Kong. Chimuka moved in 15 tenants.
Julian Jones, prosecuting, said: “She was a systematic fraudster out to make a gain for herself on a systematic large scale. Little of the money went back to property owners and some of these frauds were committed while on bail for previous ones.”
Elsewhere, takeaway restaurant landlord Abdul Mannan was fined £2,400 for flouting fire safety laws at the Shabna Tandoori in Eccles, Manchester.
Mannan, 53, was found guilty of six fire safety charges at Manchester City Magistrates Court. He was also ordered to pay £5,800 costs.
Fire safety officers inspected the premises and were appalled to find workers sleeping on the two floors above the kitchens while no fire safety precautions were in place.
They issued an immediate prohibition notice forbidding occupation until the risk assessment and remedial work was completed.
The landlord had carried out no fire risk assessment and the building had no fire alarms or emergency lighting. Stairs from the upper floors led back in to the kitchen, so the only escape route if the kitchen caught fire led back to the source of danger.
Landlord Joseph Dorrington was also fined £7,000 after admitting seven fire safety offences at Southampton Magistrates Court.
The problems were revealed after a fire at an HMO run by Dorrington in Jonas Nichols Square, Southampton.
A post-fire inspection found no fire alarm, a blocked fire exit, fire doors not fitted with self closing devices and two more fire doors not maintained properly. Electrical sockets were damaged and wiring exposed.
Ramsgate landlord Michael Abbott was fined £300 and ordered to pay £150 costs for running an HMO without a licence by Canterbury magistrates.