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Landlord ordered to repay £109,000 or face jail over unlawful property

A landlord who built unlawful extensions and crammed 14 people into his home has been ordered to give up more than £100,000 in rent or face prison.

Jagtar Phagura ignored planning permission requirements and created five extra bedrooms at a three-bed property he owned in Mirador Crescent and filled them with renters.

A judge has now ordered the 64-year-old to forfeit the money he earned, £109,273.16, within three months or spend 18 months in jail.

Phagura appeared at a confiscation hearing at Reading Crown Court on Thursday, February 11.

The court heard how in 2015 his three-bed property was extended to the side and rear, as well as a loft conversion, without the relevant planning permission.

This created five extra rooms, each of which could be rented out by single people or couples.

Some rooms contained three beds and a total of 14 people were discovered living in the property.

Slough Borough Council’s planning enforcement team issued an order for the unauthorised building work to be demolished in August 2015.

But Phagura ignored the statutory notice and continued to collect rent from people living in the rooms in the unlawful extensions.

The council prosecuted him and the 64-year-old 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.

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

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

Phagura was ordered to give up the £109,273.16 he made from renting out the five unlawful rooms at Reading Crown Court on Thursday.

Phagura, of Hewett Lane, Hook, was also fined £18,000 and ordered to pay the council’s court costs of £13,150.

The judge gave him three months to pay or spend 18 months in jail. He will still have to pay back to proceeds even if he does go to jail.

Councillor Pavitar K. Mann, 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 judges ruling and it indicates to others we will take similar matters extremely seriously.”

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