A rogue landlord who illegally rented out overcrowded bedsits and harassed tenants in Tooting has been fined thousands of pounds and warned he will go to jail if he tries to rent out other properties.
Balazs Stalter was prosecuted by Wandsworth Council’s housing team for renting family-sized properties and unlawfully converting them into bedsits.
One property in Longmead Road, Tooting, was rented to five sub-tenants after converting the living room and dining room into bedrooms, with a shared kitchen and bathroom.
When tenants formally complained Mr Stalter waged a campaign of harassment against them – tampering with their water, gas and electricity supplies and gluing up their locks.
He also received a police warning after posting damaging online reviews of a company associated with one of his tenants.
When the case reached the court at the end of last year Mr Stalter was convicted of unlawfully operating a house in multiple occupation (HMO) licence.
During his trial Mr Stalter produced a ‘tenancy agreement’, which contained the signature of one his tenants “confirming” that the room he rented was not his permanent residence.
But the document was fraudulent and the signature forged, as the tenant in question had returned to New Zealand at the time the agreement was “signed”.
Stalter was fined was fined £1,858 and ordered to pay the council’s prosecution costs of £2,089 plus a victim surcharge of £170. He was also banned from operating as a landlord.
Last week he appealed his conviction, but it was rejected at Kingston Crown Court when the tenant whose signature was forged testified from New Zealand that he had never even seen the document.
Stalter was forced to pay a further £3,818 in costs.
Wandsworth’s cabinet member for housing Cllr Kim Caddy said:
“By his own disgraceful and unacceptable behaviour Mr Stalter has shown he is an unfit person to be a landlord.
“I’m delighted we’ve been able to take concerted action in the courts to not only secure justice for his tenants but to prevent him victimising any others in the future.”