A rogue landlord dubbed ‘Slumlord Millionaire’ has been fined a record-breaking £1.5 million for building an illegal boxroom empire.
A judge told Vispasp Sarkari he must pay the huge fine or face nine years behind bars after taking advantage of people ‘desperate for a roof over their head’.
And the judge also froze all his accounts and assets until the fine is paid, giving councils the right to sell off his properties if he doesn’t comply.
The landlord converted this property and others in north-west London so that he could cram tiny bedsits into them
Tiny kitchen areas would sit alongside a bed in the tiny studios, which were converted without planning permission
The dingy bathroom of one of the rogue landlord’s properties in London. He had tenants living in the buildings illegally
Items are stacked in the hallway as washing machines are crammed next to the staircase at just one of the landlord’s properties
Tenants were living in cramped conditions such as this, with tiny bedsits featuring grimy kitchenettes
Over five years, Sarkari ignored planning laws and raked in thousands from illegal tenants crammed into tiny flats across Brent and Harrow in north west London.
The 56-year-old from Harrow converted properties without planning permission into cramped and dangerous flats, while charging tenants ‘extortionate’ rent.
One house in Brent was converted into eight miniscule bedsits, with four more similarly converted in Harrow.
Brent Council released pictures of the houses that the landlord crammed tenants into after creating tiny bedsits
This image shows the corridor of one of Sarkari’s houses. What was once the door to a bedroom would become the door to a tiny bedsit thanks to his crooked conversions
Sarkari flouted planning laws so that he could cram people into intolerable conditions across the capital
Sarkari has a string of previous convictions relating to his illegal empire and has been fined hundreds of thousands for safety risks and flouting planning laws.
Councillor 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.
‘Anyone we find flouting planning or exploiting renters will feel a deep hole in their pockets after we’ve taken them to task.’
Sarkari was also separately fined £12,000 and ordered to pay both councils’ costs in full.
The councils believe he may have several further properties across the two boroughs – making him responsible for a ‘significant proportion’ of illegal flat conversions and House of Multiple Occupancies blighting North West London.
Councillor Keith Ferry, Harrow Council’s cabinet member for planning, said: ‘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.
‘But he’s not the only rackrent landlord out there, wrecking lives and ruining our boroughs by running illegal flats and HMOs.
‘My message to the others is this: we’ll never stop, we’ll never give up, and when we catch you, we’ll punish you too.’
Brent Council also secured a restraint order against Sarkari which freezes his assets and accounts until he hands over the £1.5 million in full.
A toilet at just one of the landlord’s Brent properties shows the conditions he made tenants live in
If he doesn’t pay up, the council can force the sale of his properties. Sentencing Sarkari, Judge Wood described the breaches as ‘a flagrant abuse of the Town and Country Planning legislation’.
She went on to thank everybody involved for their hard work in putting the case forward.
Harrow and Brent were represented by lawyer Edmund Robb at Harrow Crown Court.
He said: ‘The Confiscation Order of almost £1.5 million which has been made in this case represents major recognition by the Crown Court of the personal misery and amenity damage which is caused by blatant and longstanding failures by developers to comply with planning enforcement notices issued by local authorities in London.’
In 2012 a confiscation order was made against him for £303,112.00 for exactly the same thing, flouting planning laws.
Despite leaving the courts in 2012 with a hefty bill, he continued in the same vein, having no regard for the law, as he continued to flout planning laws and raked in large sums of cash from his unlawful enterprise by continuing to rent out the same properties which were in breach of planning enforcement notices in 2012.
He did pay the order made in 2012 in full.
Mr Sarkari also has a string of previous convictions which relate to properties he rented out.
On 6th August 2008 at Harrow Magistrates Court, he was prosecuted for seven fire safety offences relating to a property on High Street, Wealdstone.
He was fined £400 for each offence totaling £2,800 and ordered to pay costs totaling £7,746.
On 22nd September 2009 at Brent Magistrates Court, he was prosecuted for failing to comply with an enforcement notice which related to another property he owned on London Road, Wembley.
He was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs totaling £739.50.
During January 2015, he was prosecuted for gas safety breaches at a property in London Road Wembley.
He was fined £10,000, was ordered to perform 150 hours community service and was given a 12 month suspended sentence.
On 14th December 2017, he was prosecuted at Willesden Magistrates Court in relation to one of several properties he owns on London Road Wembley. T
These breaches included fire safety hazards and a cockroach infestation. He pleaded guilty and was fined £13,400 and ordered to pay £1,545 in costs.