A buy-to-let investor, who previously spent time in prison for perjury after he lied during an inquiry into the deaths of two tenants during a fire in a basement flat he owns in Scotland, was this week barred from being a landlord following an investigation by Glasgow City Council.
Harpal Singh, aged 64, was found to be unfit to act as a landlord after it was revealed he was in control of a 14-property portfolio despite being not holding a licence.
Council officers found the properties, all located north of the border, lacked basic fire safety measures, and six were placed under closure orders.
Singh previously owned a basement flat in Melrose Street, Woodlands, where James Fraser and Daniel Heron died when a fire gutted the property in March 1999 because metal bars over the windows had prevented the occupants from escaping.
The father of James Fraser, Sandy Fraser, has slammed the authorities for allowing Singh to continuing operating as a rogue landlord.
He 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.”
Councillors on the Licensing and Regulatory Committee last week condemned Singh’s record and banned him from becoming a registered landlord.
Singh could now face a £50,000 fine, and the current occupants of his flats have been advised of their rights.
A city council spokesman commented: “Officers from the Landlord Registration Unit have worked extremely hard to gather the evidence that has led to this decision.
“We are pleased that the members of the committee found that the applicant is not a fit and proper person to be a landlord.”