Landlord of Luton HMO given suspended sentence after tenant dies in fire

A landlord of a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) in Luton has been given a suspended sentence after a tenant died in a fire.

Friday, 23rd October 2020, 3:03 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd October 2020, 3:08 pm

Bhagwent Sagoo, 63, of Old Bedford Road, appeared at Luton Crown Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to breaching a fire safety order.

On March 27 last year, a fire broke out at 311 Hitchin Road in the first floor rear bedroom occupied by Evaldas Grisciukas, who sadly died in the incident.

Another resident at the HMO, Eugeniu Hincu, attempted to rescue Mr Grisciukas but he himself then had to pulled to safety by a brave passer-by, Douglas Lindsay.

Seven people were living at 311 Hitchin Road (centre) at the time of the fire

The court was told that the address was occupied by seven people at the time of the fire and the judge concluded that there were inadequate fire precautions in place.

In particular, there were no fire doors and although some fire alarms were present, it is not clear if they worked.

The alarms were not interlinked, as required by law.

Sagoo was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with a fine of £20,000 and £12,000 costs.

Cllr Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing said “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.”

Following sentencing, the judge acknowledged the actions of Mr Hincu and Mr Lindsay, who were were commended for their bravery.

HMO residents can report concerns to the council by emailing [email protected] or calling 01582 547222 in complete confidence.