Rogue landlord hit with record £330,000 fine
Friday 13th July 2012
A rogue landlord has been hit with what is believed to be the largest fine ever imposed on a landlord in Britain.
Vispasp Sarkari, 50, of Harrow, north London, has been ordered to pay £328,515.
He had built up a property empire worth at least £1.8m by illegally converting four houses into a total of 28 multiple flats.
Sarkari, 50, who served a jail sentence for credit card fraud and has another conviction for breaching fire regulations at one of his properties, must pay up within six months or face three and a half years in jail.
Brent and Harrow councils brought a joint action against Sarkari using new laws that came into force this year, allowing them to prosecute him under the Proceeds of Crime Act, and not the Town and Country Planning Act which carries much lower fines.
The case followed an initial prosecution by Brent which led to Sarkari being convicted of cramming four flats into a terrace house in Wembley.
Sarkari’s modus operandi was to buy rundown terrace houses and semis and divide them into flats and studios without planning permission.
Sarkari, who himself lives in a £550,000 home in Harrow, had ignored repeated orders to obey planning regulations.
The judge at Harrow Crown Court ordered Sarkari to pay £303,000, based on the rent he had collected from tenants in his four properties since 2005.
He was also ordered to pay a fine of £7,515 for breaching planning regulations plus legal costs of more than £18,000.
Keith Ferry, Harrow council portfolio holder for planning, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to send out a clear message that we will not allow people to profit from illegal conversions.
“This landlord ignored planning rules designed to ensure that the quality of accommodation in the boroughs is maintained and that the environment for surrounding residents is protected.
“He ignored the council’s notices. As a result, he profited hugely from this sub-standard accommodation.
“This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated in Harrow and I am delighted to see this man brought to justice thanks to the tremendous joint investigation work of dedicated planning enforcement teams in Harrow and Brent.”
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