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A man has been detained after starting a fire in his bedroom at a House in Multi Occupation in Bristol.
The man, who was detained under the Mental Health Act, started the fire under a table at the bottom of his bed.
Prosecuting, Caighli Taylor said that on November 29 last year, police received a 999 call from the tenant, who said: “I’ve just put a fire in my room. You should call the fire brigade.”
The fire was quickly extinguished by emergency services but not before damage was done to the carpet and walls.
The tenant then approached officers in the street, told them he was wanted and was then arrested.
He pleaded guilty to arson with intent when the case went to court and admitted being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
The landlord had to pay £750 for repairs as the event was not covered by his insurance.
Recorder Jonathan Barnes ordered Barreh be detained and said he would only be released back into the community when health professionals felt it was safe to do so.
He said: “You are someone who was suffering from mental illness brought about, in part at least, by heavy cannabis use. You were suffering from delusions.
“I’m quite sure that what you did, although it was reckless as to whether life was endangered, was a cry for help on your part.
This tenant may have had a history of drug use and if he had been referenced property he may not have been allowed to take up residence in this HMO. Tenants like this are a danger to their housemates and neighbours. It is the duty of landlords to reference comprehensively to protect both their investment and the community.
Five Top Tips for Landlords on Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) from Tessa Shepperson at Easy Law Training Ltd here
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Bad Tenants cost Landlords their Property and Letting
Agents their important clients. How not to take a bad tenant – read on >>How to protect yourself from Rent Loss, Expensive legal bills and Malicious Property Damage
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This reminds me of two brothers in my block of 100 flats (not my tenants) who were well known arsonists, oft housed at Her Majesties pleasure. We had to cajole the landlord to take action which of course took more than six months, the police making sure that he adhered to the letter of the law. Meanwhile three properties were torched, including their own flat. Coincidence said the Police, no proof that it was them.
Future scenario: Landlord cannot issue Section 21 because there are repairs needed.
Lyndon it will be interesting at what level the bench mark will be set. No section 21 if the toilet seat is loose.
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