An unscrupulous landlord who illegally rented out properties in Fife has been sentenced to two years in prison after failing to pay a £12,000 fine.
Mohammed Murtaza was hit with the fine in January last year after year after he admitted leasing two homes in Kirkcaldy without being registered as a landlord with the local authority.
The 49-year-old, who has previous convictions of the same nature, attended Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court for a confiscation hearing, as prosecutors try to seize earnings he is alleged to have made from his properties.
A 12-month order was made against him in May 2017 after he had let properties in Valley Gardens, Dunnikier Road and Kennedy Crescent, Kirkcaldy, despite being refused entry to Fife Council’s landlord register in June 2015, after conviction of failing to comply with duties under anti-social behaviour legislation and for breaching gas safety legislation.
However, Murtaza, who became the first person in Scotland to be banned from renting out homes in Scotland, was left stunned when Sheriff Jamie Gilchrist QC, who lost his landlord licence as a result of his conviction, decided to send him to prison for failing to pay a penny of his fine.
Sheriff Jamie Gilchrist QC told Murtaza: “You have made no effort to pay the fines.
“It must be said that the fines were set at that level because of the repeated offending, not only on this complaint but you have previous convictions for doing the same thing.”