Landlord who squeezed 14 people into unlawfully extended family home hit with £109k confiscation order

Slough Borough Council has secured a confiscation order worth £109,000 against a landlord who built unlawful extensions to a family home and housed up to 14 people in the rooms.

Jagtar Phagura, 64, created five bedrooms in extensions built without planning permission at the property in Mirador Crescent, Upton Lea. The house had been purchased as a three-bedroom home covering two floors.

In 2015 the property was extended to the side and rear, and the loft converted, without the relevant planning permissions. This created a further five bedrooms over three floors. 

Each of the eight rooms could be rented out by single people or couples and in some cases just a bed was rented to tenants, the council said. “In some rooms there were three beds and 14 people were found living in the end of terrace property.”

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It said Phagura failed to act after receiving correspondence from the council’s planning enforcement team. Subsequently, a planning enforcement notice was issued in August 2015 which required the unauthorised building work be demolished within three months. 

However, Phagura did not comply with the statutory notice and continued to collect rent from people living in the rooms in the extensions.

Phagura was prosecuted by the council and he admitted failing to comply with the planning enforcement notice contrary to Section 179(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 at Reading Magistrates’ Court in November 2019.

As of September 2020 retrospective planning permission was granted for two of the previous five rooms in the extended part of the house.

Slough’s corporate fraud team pursued the defendant for the profits he made from renting out the five bedrooms in the unlawful extensions under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Following a hearing at Reading Crown Court earlier this month (11 February) Phagura was ordered to pay the confiscation amount within three months or spend 18 months in jail. He was also ordered to pay a £18,000 fine and the council’s costs of £13,150. 

Cllr Pavitar K. Mann, Slough’s cabinet member for planning and regulation, said: “There is no room in the borough for landlords who do not have the correct planning permissions and make money from unlawful developments.

“We welcome the judge’s ruling and it indicates to others we will take similar matters extremely seriously.”

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