A letting agent from Coventry has been put behind bars after conning students into handing over deposits for rooms in flat that didn’t exist.
Mr Barinder Uppal tricked 12 students, mostly from overseas and one man, in order to support his gambling addiction.
As a result of his wrongdoing, Uppal was jailed for 12 months, having pleaded guilty to 13 charges of fraud.
Uppal was working at Reed Rains in Coventry when he placed the fraudulent adverts online. He subsequently arranged viewings and took cash or bank transfers from the unsuspecting students, ‘letting’ them the same property.
Mr Uppal made £13,560 from his deceit.
Prosecutor Paul Dhami told Warwickshire Crown Court that, ‘all bar one were students who had come to study in the UK so English was their second language and therefore there was a degree of vulnerability because he appeared to be bona fide.’
Upon sentencing, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano said, ‘it is a great pity to see someone like you using your intelligence to defraud people in this way. There was significant planning in this fraud and a large number of victims. The message must go out that someone who uses their position to defraud vulnerable people in this way must go to custody.’
If you are thinking of becoming a student landlord, you must make sure that you comply with your legal obligations. A reputable letting agent will be able to sort out sourcing, referencing and even showing students around your property. Be sure though to take out the correct landlords insurance to give you peace of mind against damage or other issues that arise.
Certainly, you as a landlord must consider the potential pitfalls of entering the student market. Once you have considered these issues, you will be much better placed to gain substantial returns from your investment.
What’s more, remember to register your deposits with a government recognised redress scheme, of which there are three, either:
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
- Deposit Protection Service (DPS)