A landlord has been ordered by a judge to pay a record-breaking penalty of almost £1.5m – or spend nine years behind bars.
The landlord, Vispasp Sarkari, flouted planning laws across the London boroughs of Brent and Harrow, taking in thousands from tenants living in tiny flats no larger than boxrooms, and built or converted illegally.
The two councils prosecuted Sarkari after he defied enforcement warnings.
At Harrow Crown Court , Judge Wood described the breaches as a “flagrant abuse” of planning legislation.
As well as the huge confiscation penalty, Sarkari was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay both councils’ costs.
In addition, Brent Council secured a restraint order against Sarkaria, meaning he cannot dispose of his assets before the order is paid in full.
If he does not pay up, then the council can force the sale of his properties.