A comman embarked on a “thoroughly dishonest” six-year deception in which he tried to assume ownership of an empty house in his neighbourhood.
A court heard Azar Iqbal lied on documents which he sent to the Land Registry in a bid to become the owner of the property.
The 35-year-old also spent around £14,000 of his own money on getting builders to renovate the derelict building.
John Bull, prosecuting, said the deception related to a house on Easterly Grove, Gipton. The owner of the house initially bought it in 1984 for £22,000.
The house was left unoccupied for long periods from 1996 due to the owner having to work away.
By 2004 the owner moved out completely to care for his parents in the Birmingham area.
He continued to own the house and pay bills on the property and a neighbour kept an eye on the building.
The court heard the house then received “unwelcome people” including squatters.
Mr Bull said Iqbal began asking the neighbour questions about the property.
Iqbal wrote to the Land Registry in which he completed a ‘statement of truth’ in a bid to become the legal proprietor of the house but the application was refused. He then entered the property on a number of occasions to carry out building work. Iqbal also made arrangements through an agent to let the building out to tenants.
The neighbour contacted police on occasions and changed the locks of the property but Iqbal and builders kept returning.
Iqbal, of Easterly Road, was arrested over the deception and pleaded guilty to two offences of fraud. Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, gave Iqbal a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for two years. The judge said: “What you did over this period of years was thoroughly dishonest.
“I am entirely satisfied that you knew you had no entitlement to this property. If you have lost money as a result of doing work on the property I have absolutely no sympathy for you.”