A rogue letting agent and landlord in Lancashire has been jailed for three years and nine months after he was convicted at Bolton Crown Court of nine counts of fraud, theft and forgery following a lengthy investigation by the National Trading Standards.
Tahir ‘Tony’ Khaliq (pictured, left) operated a string of property companies including several letting agencies which he used as vehicles for his fraudulent activity.
The most shocking was the theft of holding deposits of between £200 and £400 from over 100 prospective tenants, many of whom were extremely vulnerable people mainly in the Rochdale, Bury and Oldham areas.
Khaliq, with the help of accomplice Paul Dickinson – who received a two-year suspended sentence and 240 hours of community service – took the holding deposits and claimed they were processing fees for unsuccessful tenancy applications.
The court heard how one woman, after losing her holding deposit, was forced to move into a Mother and Baby unit, as well as another who experienced extreme financial difficulties while trying to save money to leave her violent and abusive partner.
National Trading Standards says Khaliq was involved in other illegal activities relating to his property businesses including forging documents, the theft of rent from landlords, council tax fraud and insurance fraud.
It’s not the first time Khaliq has come to light. One of this companies, Lancashire Lettings, was featured in an episode of Channel 4’s Landlords From Hell in 2013 during which his shortcomings as a letting agent were revealed and presenter Dominic Littlewood doorstepped Khaliq outside his gated office in Bury.
Lord Toby Harris, the chair of National Trading Standards, said of Khaliq’s conviction: “This offending involved targeting a number of financially vulnerable people in need of low cost rental accommodation and left them in severe financial difficulties.
“They enriched themselves while showing no regard for the situations they were leaving there victims in.”
His Honour Judge Smith, when sentencing Khaliq, said: “[Mr Khaliq] became accustomed to putting his own selfish interests before others. You were involved in several fraudulent activities that all took place over an overlapping period.
“You had a leading role actively involved in each fraud; other employees were involved however [this offending] took place over a long period of time and you had high culpability in relation to the deposit fraud aspects; some of whom were vulnerable.”