A deceitful estate agent let out a house without the owner's permission, swindling a deposit  out of a prospective tenant.

Thirugnanaselvam Damayantharan, 50, of Purley, pocketed £3,235 from a woman who wanted to move into the house in Plough Lane in 2011.

But the landlord of the property had already severed ties with Mr Damayantharan, who traded as Kingwood Estate Agents in Brighton Road, and he had no right to rent out the house.

Mr Damayantharan - nicknamed 'Mr Damo' - also refused to repay deposits to previous tenants when they left the house.

He had served as the estate agent for the house until its owner, Mr Barry, ended the working relationship as he had become disatisfied with the service. 

Despite this, Mr Damayantharan showed a prospective new tenant around the house in June 2011 and pocketed two months' rent as a deposit.

He had asked for a full year's rent but the tenant, Ms Woodside, refused.

Mr Damayantharan closed down his Brighton Road office in September 2011 and did not answer Ms Woodside's calls when she rang to ask when she could move into the Plough Lane house.

She later visited the house and found it was already occupied.

Mr Barry was forced to pay £1,100 to the previous tenants himself because Mr Damayantharan refused to repay their deposits when they moved out in August.

Mr Damayantharan was found guilty of three offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday February 5. 

He had pleaded guilty to two Companies Act 2006 offences at an earlier hearing.

He was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £3,000, while his victims received compensation. 

Councillor Simon Hoar, cabinet member for community safety at Croydon Council, said: “Unfortunately, there are rogues in every profession and they are rarely exposed until their actions have caused upset and misery for their innocent victims.

“The council’s trading standards department was diligent in getting to the bottom of the case and bringing this letting agent to book.

"Thanks to the hard work of the officers involved, the offender has been hit with a hefty fine and his victims will be fully compensated for the money he swindled from them by way of directly taking it, or refusing to hand over that which was owed.”