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Landlord fined over £5k for exposing tenants to ‘miserable living conditions’

A landlord has been fined more than £5,000 after St Helens Council’s private sector housing team inspectors found fire safety issues within a property he owns.

Darshan Sidhu, 55, of Lichfield Street, Walsall, was hit with the hefty fine after fire escapes in the HMO on Bridge Street in St Helens, WA10, were found to be obstructed and not of a well-maintained standard.

St Helens Council took action to prevent potential tenants from living in unsafe conditions after Sidhu failed to comply with an improvement notice and carry out fire precautions in the property, which provided “miserable living conditions” for the tenants according to the judge at Liverpool, Knowsley and St Helens Magistrates’ Court

The landlord pleaded guilty by post for failing to comply with HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) regulations at his Bridge Street property.

The district judge also stated that this was a commercial enterprise and that Sidhu would have made a significant profit on the HMO.

The offence was categorised as one of high culpability, due to the commercial profit gained, and one of high risk, given the difficulties the tenants would have had escaping from the property in the event of a fire.

Sidhu was ordered to pay a total of £5,032 which included a fine, costs and victim surcharge.

Reflecting on the outcome, St Helens Council’s strategic director of people services, Mike Wyatt, said: “The majority of St Helens landlords are responsible and provide good quality and safe accommodation.

“Unfortunately, as in this case, not all landlords follow their example and the accommodation they provide is extremely poor and hazardous to the health and wellbeing of tenants.

“The council enforces the law to make sure tenant's health and safety welfare is protected, and will take formal action against landlords who don't comply.

“I would encourage landlords to contact the council to seek any advice and ensure compliance with legal requirements.” 

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