Who is Siddharth Mahajan?
A bright young Hotel Management student from India arrived in London in the pursuit of making it big in the hospitality sector. He completed his Hotel Management Degree in the Oriental School of Hotel Management, Kerala, following which he worked with Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur. The prestigious campus placement was testimony that Siddharth Mahajan held the potential to realize his dreams. From Rajvilas, he moved on to London where he worked with Thistle Marble Arch Hotel as a guest relations officer. During this period, he was greatly applauded by clients and colleagues for his services and his dedication to work. After a few short-lived stints at various hotels, Mahajan took the first big step towards his goal – established a company called Tulip Hotels and Real Estate Pvt. Ltd. The business model was to rent out apartments to students and business travelers looking for long term stay options with the comforts of a home. The idea struck Mahajan during his various interactions with clients who expressed their need to have a home-like stay as opposed to hotels. Without a doubt, Tulip Homes grew and grew manifold within no time.
All you need to know about the property case against the Tulip Hotels owner
In 2015, Siddharth Mahajan was given enforcement by the government prohibiting him from using the 6 room HMOs without a plan. As per its Article 4, the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham had withdrawn permitted development rights for the change of use of dwelling houses to HMOs (House in Multiple Occupation) throughout the area. In essence, the Barking Council had now deemed Mahajan’s HMOs illegal.
In the course of the three-week trial, authorities claimed these three properties were converted into 6 room HMOs without the suitable licensing and accused Mahajan of not submitting a plan to the council. Following the enforcement, Siddharth questioned why he was issued a license for his 6 room HMOs by the council in 2014 when the rule of plan submission for HMOs was already enforced in 2012. He protested that if there was such a law, then authorities ought to have informed him of the same during the license application procedure. Also, a commonly known fact was that small HMOs did not require any plan and all the three properties in question were, in fact, small HMOs. The scenario turned ambiguous for Siddharth Mahajan. He demanded to understand that if HMOs with six rooms or more required a plan, then why the council issued the licenses for these HMOs.
Authorities explained that there were two distinct departments; one for the licensing which overlooks the health and safety aspects and quality of accommodation and the other – planning and development of properties. Considering the licensing department had permitted the licenses for Siddharth’s small HMOs, the Tulip Hotels owner remained unacquainted with Article 4 of the Barking Council.
Siddharth admitted before his lawyer that his knowledge and understanding about the legalities concerning HMOs were restricted as his business was still in its embryonic stage. Just as he was slowly, steadily cognizing the laws and regulations, ensuring his business processes were well in line with them, the council placed allegations of foul play on him.
During the proceedings of the case, there were several questions that went unanswered and Mahajan’s silence forced people to ask –
- What is the truth behind the Siddharth Mahajan property case?
- Was Siddharth Mahajan arrested?
- Are his properties illegal?
- Was he involved in the forgery of documents?
- Was he handcuffed and arrested by the police?
- What was the court’s decision?
Rumors were rife that Mahajan was handcuffed, arrested and jailed, however, nothing of this kind happened. Clients, business associates, and stakeholders were left in a state of ambiguity because there was no clarity on the turn of events. However, below is the clear account of things that transpired.
It was on a winter morning when Mahajan was approached by the council authorities and was questioned about the documentation of his properties. During this interaction, he was informed that 3 of his properties had been lacking appropriate licensing documents and that he needed to provide an explanation for the same. Following this meeting, authorities requested him to come to the police station for further questioning. In contrast with the rumors, there was no arresting involved. It was only a matter of examination.
Siddharth Mahajan then registered an appeal and after a thorough investigation, one out of three properties won the appeal; however, two still remained under scrutiny. Siddharth Mahajan expressed his displeasure when the tenants who passed on the tenancy rights to him for the properties in question were given a clean chit by the jury. These tenants had used the 6 room HMOs before Mahajan and yet it was him had to face the allegations of having forged documents. Authorities placed 18 charges on him of which only 2 were taken forward and convicted him of “perverting the course of justice”.
All other charges were disproven due to the dearth of evidence. As far as the remaining two properties are concerned, Siddharth is determined the court of law will serve him justice as he has harbored his business like a child with complete honesty and sincerity.
During this phase, Mahajan was also restricted from continuing business and was given custodian sentencing for four months. Despite this, he kept himself engaged by taking up a journalism course while also teaching math at Pentonville. His positivity was what gave him the courage and strength to keep his head high during the trying times. Mahajan now awaits the court’s decision for the remnant properties.