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Friday, November 25, 2011

Salford slum landlord swindled thousands in benefits scam

Joshua Dansky was ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work

A Salford businessman once branded one of Britain’s worst slum landlords swindled thousands in a benefits scam.

Joshua Dansky conned almost £5,500 from the state by falsely claiming tenants were living in his properties.

The father-of-four, who owned more than 200 houses and flats, was caught after a police investigation into his firm Dreamport Properties.

Dansky, 32, admitted conspiracy to defraud between 2007 and 2009.

The court heard that the landlord, who mainly let to low-income tenants on housing benefit, would apply for the money to be sent directly to him if they fell into arrears.

But in three cases Dansky, who let most of the properties in the north-east of England, carried on claiming money after the tenants had moved – pocketing £5,479.20.

He was ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work at Newcastle Crown Court and will be subject of a Proceeds of Crime Hearing to see if any of the money can be claimed back.

Last year Dansky, who is now back in Salford, was the subject of a BBC Panorama investigation – who named him as one of Britain’s worst slum landlords.

They spoke to one of his tenants who lived in a house with black mould, damp and broken windows which he claimed the landlord refused to fix.

An electrician called in by the show discovered an exposed fuse that he said ‘could literally kill someone’.

Newcastle council put Dansky’s firm under a slum landlord exclusion zone, forbidding him from letting properties in certain areas.

Dansky was also slapped with an ‘Emergency Prohibition Notice’ after eight flats he owned in Gateshead were found to be ‘uninhabitable’.

A joint police and council investigation found evidence of drug taking, broken fire doors and no water supply at the properties. Dansky is now said to be penniless after the Co-Operative Bank called in his mortgages.

Jonathan Goldberg, defending, told the court his client had been a victim of his own success.

He said: "The company had over 200 properties. The business had grown too fast and there weren’t proper managerial controls in place.

He said Dansky, who used to live in Gateshead but now lives on Old Hall Road, Salford, had not actively lied to the council to claim the benefit, but neglected to tell them the tenants had moved out.

Mr Goldberg said: "His business is now in administration. The mortgages for the properties were with the Co-operative Bank, at one stage he was borrowing over £1m.

"When he was arrested he got a lot of bad publicity. The bank came to hear of this and they have a policy of ethical lending.

"They called in his mortgages in December 2010 and that was the end of the business.

"He has really lost everything in financial terms. He is living on the charity of his father-in-law in Manchester.

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