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A criminal landlord has been caught renting out unsafe properties following the fire death of two students in one of his previous rental homes.
Students James Fraser and Daniel Heron died in a Glasgow flat fire in 1990. James was unable to escape the blaze due to metal bars on the windows of the basement property, which was later branded a ‘death trap’ by investigators. Their flatmate Christopher Lewis, 20, was pulled from the building by firefighters and survived.
Landlord Harpal Singh has now been caught renting out a further 14 unsafe properties while unlicensed.
Mr Fraser’s father, Sandy, was said to be ‘horrified’ that Singh had failed to learn from the tragedy that claimed his son’s life.
Glasgow City Council inspectors discovered that the latest properties all lacked basic fire safety measures. Six of the homes were placed under closure orders.
Singh was previously jailed for perjury following the fatal fire. He applied to become a landlord again in 2013. Inspectors visited his properties last November, and found a lack of smoke alarms, no carbon monoxide alarms, damaged floors, damp, windows that do not open, a leaking boiler, no window vents and cracked windows.
Mr Fraser said: ‘We hoped after James and Daniel’s accident that he would have changed his ways, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Some good has come out of the incident, with changes to HMO, but to see Harpal Singh has still been operating is very, very worrying. I am very pleased Glasgow City Council officers have investigated him thoroughly and councillors have rejected his bid to become a landlord again.’
Mr Fraser said he lives with the impact of Singh’s failures on a daily basis. He said: ;After an accident like that, you lose your son, you have to just get on with life. But without a shadow of a doubt, there isn’t a day that goes by I don’t think about James and what he’d be doing. I speak for his mother, brothers and sisters there as well.’