A buy to let investor has been found guilty of letting out poor quality living accommodation that was said to pose “a serious risk to life.”
Deepak Singh Sashdeva was found guilty in his absence of offences under the Housing Act 2004 Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation 2007 in regard to living accommodation he was renting out at his Premier shop premises in Bristol.
Council environmental health officers found three people, including two young children, sleeping in cupboards in the eaves of the roof.
Officers also noted that the two separate living spaces housed nine people including two children and a pregnant woman.
The accommodation was found to be of poor structural condition and design, posing serious risk to life due to inadequate fire separation and precautions.
There was very poor fire resistant separation between the shop store and the flat above, with the floorboards of the living accommodation clearly visible from the storage area immediately below.
Other property defects included large gaps around fire doors, offering no protection from potential fire or smoke hazards. There was no working fire detection in place prior to emergency smoke detectors being fitted by the council.
One of the flats also lacked basic ventilation, with no external windows and limited access via a poorly maintained staircase.
Singh Sashdeva was ordered to pay £87,000 in fines, with a victim surcharge of £120. In addition, Bristol council was awarded £1434 towards costs.
The magistrates felt that the high penalty reflected the money made from the tenants, given the severity of complete disregard for the safety of tenants, particularly children and the serious risk to life the property posed.