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Rogue agent jailed after ordering staff to make false claims

The head of a Martin & Co office in Wolverhampton has been jailed over fraudulent activity.

A court heard that Bhavander Singh Sanghera defrauded landlords and their tenants and ordered his staff to make false claims.

Sanghera was the owner of two properties in Wolverhampton, both let by EBS Property Limited, trading as Martin & Co Wolverhampton, where Sanghera was the sole company director.


In one incident, in 2012, a tenant renting one property discovered a physical connection between its electricity and gas meters and the supply to a neighbouring property.

A Birmingham Nail report of the court proceedings says: “Martin & Co falsely advised the tenant that they were liable to pay for the neighbouring property’s utilities under the guise that they had been given a discounted rate in rent.”

Then in 2016 another tenant of the same property had their £845 deposit wrongly withheld. 

The Mail says: “The court heard how Sanghera ordered employees at Martin & Co to add excessive markups on maintenance costs issued to landlords, so the franchise could meet monthly targets.”

It continues: “Sanghera, who also owned a maintenance company Genuine Interiors LTD, fabricated invoices for work which was not carried out, such as the removal of personal belongings. His staff were also advised to get friends and family to post fabricated positive reviews of the business on Google.”

Other allegations heard in court included sending out-of-date and misleading photographs of properties to the Deposit Protection Scheme, and what the paper calls “aggressive behaviour demonstrated by EBS Property Limited in issuing the tenants with an eviction notice in retaliation to complaints made by them to the council.”

Sanghera was found guilty of three counts of fraud or fraudulent trading and pleaded guilty on behalf of his company to four other offences. He was sentenced to 28 months in jail for fraud and is awaiting sentencing for the other offences. His office is now closed.

Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for city environment and climate change at Wolverhampton council, says: “The council takes consumer protection very seriously and will always act to prosecute those who look to commit fraud against our residents. 

“People put their trust in agencies like the one run by Sanghera to find them a home.

"They should not have that trust broken by the type of unscrupulous behaviour this case has highlighted. Crimes of this sort have such a huge financial and emotional impact on their victims. 

“Sanghera has shown a repeated pattern of fraudulent behaviour at the financial and emotional expense of both his tenants and his staff. I’m very pleased that justice has now been served in this case."

You can read the full Birmingham Mail report here.

  • icon

    Absolutely terrible behaviour by the letting agent. I am just wondering when councils will be prosecuted for dumping dysfunctional tenants on private landlords telling them that they are capable of sustaining their tenancies? Imposing pointless standards on HMO landlords under the guise of safety or amenity standards which serve no benefit but increases the cost of housing? Promoting pointless and ineffective fire safety measures when they know perfectly well that fire sprinklers are far cheaper and no one has ever died in a fully sprinklered property? Peddling the myth the energy conservation saves energy when it does nothing but incur landlords in wasted costs? What? landlords are exempt any right to protection and can be discriminated against fined, given civil penalties at the whim of some council official!
    Jim Haliburton
    The HMO Daddy

  • Roger  Mellie

    You'd think that someone that rents properties for a living would understand the necessity for looking after tenants in a fair and reasonable way AND making sure his properties are in the very best condition and order, because we all know that a happy tenant is worth their weight in gold.
    I've always believed that if you look after your tenants and landlords, the bottom line will look after itself. It seems like greed got in the way of good business practice.
    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  • icon

    I had problems with him and went to the property ombudsman who was poor, very keen to listen to his point of view. They seemed to specialise in the criminally inclined tenants. Martin & co is a franchise, and the franchisee didn't want to know.


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