A judge has dished out what is believed to be the biggest ever penalty to a rogue landlord who charged tenants hundreds of pounds a month to live in shabby box rooms unfit for purpose.
Vispasp Sarkari must pay a £1.5 million confiscation order or serve nine years in jail after taking advantage of vulnerable tenants for at least five years.
Sitting at Harrow Crown Court, Judge Lana Wood froze Sarkari’s bank accounts and assets until the sum is paid and gave Brent and Harrow Councils in North London the right to sell his rental properties if he fails to comply with the order.
The court heard that the rogue landlord illegally converted family homes into shared houses in multiple occupation. Sarkari crammed families into tiny rooms and charged them around £650 a month rent.
Over the years Sarkari ignored planning and housing laws in relation to a string of properties across Brent and Harrow.
One four bedroomed semi was converted into eight bedsits and housed up to 27 tenants.
Besides the overcrowding, tenants had to live in disgusting filth as homes were infested with cockroaches and rats while also riddled with damp.
Councils also had safety concerns over substandard fire precautions and faulty electrics.
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 rack rent 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.”