Largest fine ever imposed on Harrow landlord.
A rogue landlord who illegally converted houses into multiple flats has been ordered to pay £325,000+; believed to be the largest penalty to have ever been issued to a UK landlord.
After years of flouting planning regulations and ignoring repeated orders to comply, Brent and Harrow councils brought a joint action against Vispasp Sarkari, 50, after proving that he had been buying run-down terrace and semi-detached houses and dividing them into flats and studios without planning permission.
One example of his complete disregard of regulations was where he crammed four “flats” into a two bedroom terrace property in London Road, Wembley. Whilst he lived in a £550,000 home in Ivanhoe Drive, Harrow.
Sarkari was prosecuted under the Proceeds of Crime Act which came into force this year, rather than the Town and Country Planning Act; which carries much lower fines. The judge at Harrow Crown Court said Sarkari should pay £303,000, based on rent collected from tenants since 2005 and was also ordered to pay a fine of £7,515 for breaching planning regulations and legal costs of more than £18,000.
He has six months to find the money or he will be jailed for three and a half years.
HM Treasury will receive 50% of the penalty money and the rest will be divided between Harrow Council, Brent Council, Harrow and Brent Trading Standards, and the court collection agency.
His property “empire” is believed to be worth at least £1.8 million and includes homes in Kenton, Edgware and Wealdstone.
Sarkari has also served a jail sentence for credit card fraud and a further conviction for breaching fire regulations at another of his properties.
Harrow Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning and Enterprise, Keith Ferry, 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.”
Are you a tenant that has suffered at the hands of Vispasp Sarkari?
We would love to hear from you!
Do you think your landlord might be a rogue? Please get in touch HERE.