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A Leicestershire landlord was prosecuted after he converted a home into three flats without planning permission and without a fire escape.
Landlord Satwinder Singh Phull converted a Glenfield property into three flats ‘without planning permission or building regulations approval.’The home was ‘considered to be’ a house in multiple occupation (HMO). It was inspected by Blabby District Council’s environmental health team in October last year, with a follow up visit some days later from a prevision office from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue service (LFRS).
Three live exposed electrical conductors were revealed in one flat, with two of these at a reachable height. Mr Phull was also unable to state which electricity supply fed lights in communal areas as well as which fed the boiler. There were also ‘insufficient’ waste disposal facilities and no ‘adequate fire escape’ for any of the flats should a fire occur. This led to fire officers declaring that that the property ‘posed an imminent risk of serious harm to any occupants due to the inadequate fire escape’.
Two emergency prohibition orders were subsequently issued and two of the flats were ‘immediately prevented from being used as residential accommodation’.
At Leicester Magistrates’ Court, Mr Phull’s barrister defended him, claiming that his client was ‘not a professional landlord’.
Mr Phull had also since carried out work on the property in order to ensure that the prohibition notices were removed. However, he was fined £4,250 after being convicted of four offences under the Housing Act. Mr Phull was also told to pay council costs of £867 as well as a victim surcharge of £125. The total fines amounted to £5,242 to be paid in £500 instalments.
Portfolio holder for leisure and regulatory services at Blaby District Council, Iain Hewson, stated: ‘This ruling once again highlights our message to landlords that we will not tolerate poor living conditions in the district. As the owner of a hotel Mr Phull should be fully aware of fire safety, particularly in the wake of terrible tragedies such as the Grenfell Tower incident. We urge anyone living in rented accommodation that thinks may not comply with the law to contact us so we can investigate.’