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£1.5m fine for planning breaches in North London

Words: Laura Edgar
Fined / Shutterstock_410177104

Harrow Crown Court has ordered a rogue landlord to pay £1.5 million or spend nine years in prison after he was found guilty of breaching planning rules for five years in two London boroughs.

Vispasp Sarkari, 56, from Harrow, converted a number of properties across Harrow and Brent into substandard flats without planning permission.

The councils said he was cramming tenants into the dangerous conversions and charging them extortionate rents. Sarkari’s properties include one in Brent converted into eight ‘box room’ bedsits and four similar properties in Harrow.

All planning enforcement notices were ignored.

Brent Council secured a restraint order against Sarkari. This means he cannot dispose of his assets before the order is paid in full. If the fine is not paid, the council can force the sale of his properties.

Tom Miller, Brent Council's cabinet member for community safety, said: “Slum landlords won't be tolerated – plain and simple. If you ignore planning laws or leave tenants to languish in poor conditions, then we will find you, we will take action in court, and we will win.”

Keith Ferry, Harrow Council's cabinet member for planning, added: “Justice means taking the ill-gotten gains off this slumlord millionaire. This is a man who thought he couldn't be stopped. He was wrong, and thanks to our joint work with Brent Council, Sarkari's criminal venture is finished.”

Judge Wood said the breaches were “a flagrant abuse of the Town and Country Planning legislation”.  

Sarkari was separately fined £12,000 and ordered to pay both councils’ costs in full.

In 2012 a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 was made against Sarkari for £303,112.00 for ignoring planning laws. He has also being prosecuted for fire safety offences and gas safety breaches.

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