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Landlord who owned 'deathtrap' flat confronted tenant 

Harpal 'Harry' Singh was banned from demanding rent when he confronted 21-year-old.

Harpal 'Harry' Singh: Fined £270 in court on Monday.
Harpal 'Harry' Singh: Fined £270 in court on Monday. Spindrift

The owner of a 'slum' flat where two students died 20 years ago demanded rent from a tenant despite a council ban.

Harpal 'Harry" Singh wanted cash from 21-year-old Liam Fair in February 2018 when he lived in Melrose Street, Glasgow.

This was the same street where students James Fraser and Daniel Heron perished in a flat blaze in 1999.

Singh was the landlord and was later jailed for perjury after lying under oath that the basement property had working smoke detectors.

The 66 year-old was back at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Monday after Mr Fair reported him to police.

He was fined £270 after pleading guilty to acting in a manner which disrupted the "peace and comfort" of Mr Fair, including that he "uttered threats" to have the tenant evicted.

A hearing was told Singh was hit with a Glasgow City Council 'rent suspension order' in November 2017, but turned up unannounced at Mr Fair's flat months later.

Singh stated: "Have you decided if you are going to pay any rent?"

Mr Fair reminded the rogue landlord about the ban.

Singh then replied: "You are not renting from the council. You are renting from me."

Despite his demands, Singh left empty-handed, however Mr Fair immediately contacted the council and police.

Singh was arrested two days later and was subsequently banned from letting out properties following a council meeting in April 2018.

He was barred from being a landlord after running unlicensed flats - some without basic fire and safety measures.

Committee chairman Bailie John Kane told him at last year's meeting: "You have a pattern of totally and utterly disregarding those rules."

Singh was also ordered at the time to stump up a £150,000 council tax bill.

His lawyer stated at the court hearing on Monday that Singh had previously been prosecuted "for having a tenancy without a licence".

Moira Grant, defending, added: "He is not working and no income other than £5000 in savings."

Sheriff Sean Murphy QC decided to reduce the fine from £300 due to the guilty plea. He told Singh: "Mr Fair had no right to be spoken to in such a fashion."

An investigation into the deadly fire which claimed the lives of Mr Fraser and Mr Heron found the flat had not been fitted with a working smoke alarm. Metal bars on the windows prevented the students' escape.

Singh was later jailed for 30 months after lying at a fatal accident inquiry for claiming a working smoke alarm was fitted in the hallway.

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