Landlord prosecuted over ‘dangerous’’ house

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A Doncaster landlord has been fined after he failed to carry out work to deal with a catalogue of safety concerns in properties.

Harinder Singh, aged 54, and his wife Lalli Harinder Kaur Grewal, aged 53, of Knighton Grange Road, Leicester, left their tenants living in dangerous conditions, Doncaster magistrates were told.

Doncaster Council enforcement officers visited a flat on Hexthorpe Road, Hexthorpe, in June last year. It was occupied by three adults, a boy aged 11 and a girl aged eight.

It was found to be in a very poor condition with dangerous electrics, no fire detection and it was only separated from adjoining properties by a thin board of plywood, giving little or no protection in the case of a fire.

The boiler was in an adjoining shop, making it only possible to turn the heating on or off when the shop was open. An Emergency Prohibition Order was served banning the flat from being used for occupation with immediate effect and the tenants were assisted in finding alternative accommodation.

In October 2014 an enforcement officer visited again and found the flat be occupied by another family, despite many repairs still being outstanding and the Prohibition Order still being in force.

Singh and Grewal were ordered to pay £1,600 in fines and costs by Doncaster Magistrates Court for failure to comply with an Emergency Prohibition Order.

Singh was also prosecuted for another property he owns separately from his wife. In June 2014 an early morning unannounced visit was conducted by officers from the Enforcement Team, accompanied by South Yorkshire Police, to a property on St Vincent Avenue, Wheatley. It followed reports that the property was being occupied by multiple tenants.

Officers found the property lacked any proper fire alarm system, was poorly managed and in disrepair. As the property was a large three storey Victorian terrace and occupied by five or more people it also required a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence. An improvement notice was served on the property owner but not complied with in the timescales given.

Singh was sentenced by Doncaster Magistrates Court for nine offences including failure to licence a HMO, failure to comply with an Improvement Notice and several charges in relation to failure to comply with HMO Management Regulations. In total the fines and costs awarded in this case was £1,850.

The fines issued by Magistrates were lower than usual for these type of offences due to the defendants presenting a case of serious financial trouble including substantial debt. Both defendants have been warned by court to make paying their fines a priority, otherwise they will be sent to prison.

Councillor Chris McGuinness, Cabinet Member for Enforcement, said: “This is a shocking case, both landlords have shown complete disregard for the health and safety of their tenants.

“Improving the quality of housing and neighbourhoods across the borough is a top priority for Doncaster Council. We take strong action against landlords and tenants who flout the law.”

Sentencing for both cases took place on 25 August 2015. Mr Singh originally pleaded guilty in March 2015 for the property in Wheatley and both defendants pleaded guilty to the breach of Emergency Prohibition Order in July 2015. There was an adjournment for sentencing.