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Record fine for rogue landlord

Solicitors in London

News article published on: 20th June 2012

A landlord who built up a property empire worth nearly £2 million by illegally converting houses into multiple flats has been ordered to pay a £310,000 fine.

Vispasp Sarkari spent years disregarding planning regulations in both Harrow and Brent  councils. He bought rundown terraces and semi-detached houses and then illegally divided them into flats and studios without planning permission. In one case he converted a two bedroomed terraced house into four “flats”. In the process he took thousands of pounds from tenants who desperate enough for such accommodation.

To prosecute Sarkari, councils used laws that came into force this year under the ‘Proceeds of Crime Act’ rather than the Town and Country Planning Act, which carries much lower fines.

The judge at Harrow crown court ordered Sarkari to pay £303,000 based on rent collected from tenants since 2005. He was also ordered to pay a fine of £7,515 for breaching planning regulations and legal costs of more than £18,000.

Will Ford, specialist housing solicitor in the social welfare department at Osbornes solicitors commented:

“This landlord profited hugely by exploiting tenants, providing sub-standard and illegal accommodation, putting their lives in danger. This ruling serves as a warning to all landlords who have illegally converted property or who are contemplating breaking the law”.

Are you a tenant in need of property assistance?

If you are currently living in a property which is in a state of disrepair and which your landlord has a duty to repair, you may be able to make a claim for disrepair. Such problems you may be experiencing include lack of heating, problematic electrics, mould, vermin infestation and dry rot.

Contact the housing department at Osbornes solicitors for a confidential chat who will then be able to advise you on whether or not you can make a claim against your landlord, managing agent or housing association.

Involved in another property dispute?

If you are currently involved in a property dispute of a different kind, with a neighbour, landlord, managing agent, tenant or even a builder; the property litigation team at Osbornes can assist you in resolving this issue as quickly as possible. Contact us for a confidential chat on your matter.

Want to extend your lease?

One of the most common disputes between a leaseholder and freeholder is the extension of a lease, or when as a collective, leaseholders wish to buy the freehold of a building, called enfranchisement.

Our property litigation solicitors offer advice and assistance on lease hold enfranchisement and lease extensions. We are happy to arrange a visit to your block to discuss the matter with the leaseholders or resident’s association. If you are yet to set up a residents association we can also assist you with this.


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