After a fire in a HMO (house of multiple occupancy) resulted in the death of Mr Evaldas Grisciukas in March 2019, the landlord, Mr Bhagwent Sagoo, has been prosecuted by Luton Town Council.
During the hearing, Mr Sagoo pleaded guilty of breaching the fire safety order. The address in question was occupied by seven people at the time of the fire, with the judge concluding that there were “inadequate fire precautions in place.”
The property reportedly lacked fire doors, while it was not clear that the fire alarms in the property actually worked. The alarms were also not interlinked as legally required.
The fire began in the first floor rear bedroom, occupied by Mr Grisciukas, with another resident and passer by attempting to rescue him. The judge acknowledged the actions of Mr Hincu (resident) and Mr Lindsay (passer by), who were ‘commended for their bravery’.
Mr Sagoo has been sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with a fine of £20,000 and costs of £12,000.
Councillor Tom Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Housing, stated: “We are committed to keeping residents safe and inadequate fire safety in a HMO just isn’t acceptable. We expect landlords to put the safety of their tenants first and are pleased to see this sentencing handed down.
“We will continue to work towards ensuring landlords keep their properties in good condition and adhere to safety regulations, or face prosecution. I would strongly encourage tenants or neighbours who suspect a landlord is not adhering to the rules to get in touch with us. We’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Mr Grisciukas.”
HMOs are covered by two pieces of legislation, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the Housing Act 2004.