THE FATHER of a man who died in a blaze in a 'death trap' flat has told of his horror that the landlord was still renting out 'unsafe' flats.'

East Kilbride Connect:

Despite his role in the tragedy which killed students James Fraser and Daniel Heron, both 20, Harpal Singh continued to rent out flats illegally, with 14 properties recently found lacking in basic fire safety measures.

He has now been banned by Glasgow City Council for life for letting out flats.

East Kilbride Connect:

In March 1999, a fire broke out at a basement flat in Melrose Street where James, Daniel and Christopher Lewis, were staying.

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James and Daniel lost their lives while Christopher was pulled from the burning flat by firefighters.

A sheriff ruled the boys would likely have all lived if there had been a working smoke alarm and if they were not sealed into the house with metal bars over the windows.

East Kilbride Connect:

James’s dad Sandy said: “On the basis Harpal Singh is back out of prison and does not seemed to have learned anything about the tragedy in 1999, I am horrified.

“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."

East Kilbride Connect:

Sandy told how he and the family will never be able to recover from the shock of losing James.

He said: “After an accident like that, you lose your son, you have to just get on with life.

“But without a shadow of a doubt, there isn’t a day that goes by I don’t think about James and what he’d be doing. I speak for his mother, brothers and sisters there as well.”

East Kilbride Connect:

Six of Singh's flats were placed under closure orders in November 2017.

While unlicensed, the 64-year-old has been renting out his properties as houses in multiple occupancy, and has accumulated an unpaid council tax bill of £150,000.

Councillors on the Licensing and Regulatory Committee condemned the Newlands man’s record and banned him from becoming a registered landlord.

The council has been building a case against Singh since he applied to become a landlord again in 2013.

A catalogue of dangers was exposed in a report to councillors following a visit by inspectors in November 2017 to his properties.

Some of the issues included a lack of smoke alarms, no carbon monoxide alarms, damaged floors, damp, windows that do not open, a leaking boiler, no window vents and cracked windows.

He was found to be leasing the flats out as HMOs despite being unlicensed – which could result in a £50,000 fine.

The current occupants of Singh’s flats have been advised of their rights.

The rogue landlord is apparently going to be selling his properties to pay for the £150,000 council tax bill, which was caused by “mismanagement” of his properties.

When questioning Singh, committee members became “exasperated”.

He contradicted himself, at one point claiming he visited his flats every day before revealing he has not visited any in three months.

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