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”.
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