MEDICAL PRACTITIONER'S TRIBUNAL SERVICE SUSPENDS GP HMO LANDLORD
 

Doctor suspended for a month due to his 'cavalier attitude' as a landlord
City council had warned him about his behaviour, but he failed to act

A Bakersfield doctor has been suspended from his practice for a month due to his "cavalier attitude" as a landlord.

Dr Balvinder Singh Mehat has been working as a GP partner at the Bakersfield Medical Centre in Oakdale Road since 1989.

The Medical Practitioner's Tribunal Service, which make independent decisions about whether doctors are fit to practice, have decided to suspend Dr Mehat for a month.

Nottingham City Councilissued Dr Mehat with a caution in November 2015 in relation to two Houses of Multiple Occupany (HMOs) he owned. He also received a caution on behalf of Mehat Properties Limited, a company of which he was director.

The council said the licence allowed a maximum of five occupants in one property but there were six and that the size of the rooms in the other property did not meet the minimum requirement.

The tribunal said Dr Mehat accepted that he had not checked the space but believed he had complied and did not think he had to notify the council to increase the number of occupants.

In total, Dr Mehat admitted 14 failures across both properties, which included a failure to ensure fire alarms were maintained in good working order. 

The tribunal heard that Dr Mehat has been warned about his conduct in relation to HMOs and has now admitted further offences, resulting in two criminal cautions.

In defence it was argued that these were non-clinical matters and no patient would ever be put at risk.

The tribunal heard: "In the judgment of the tribunal the evidence demonstrates a cavalier attitude on the part of Dr Mehat towards his regulatory obligations both personally and those in respect of the limited company, of which he was sole director.

"The tribunal accepts that Nottingham City Councilhas now issued licences for both properties at their previous occupancy level. It also accepts that some of the breaches can properly be described as technical; for example those relating to the display of notices.

"Nevertheless, the number of breaches, the lapse of time from 2013 to the inspection in 2015 during which a number of clearly set out conditions were breached, together with the fact that the breaches took place in the currency of a warning relating directly to the management of HMOs, are such as to give rise to real concern.

"The licencing regime for HMOs exists to protect tenants and breaches of such would inevitably trouble members of the public.

"Members of the public would also be troubled by the fact that breaches that occurred in the circumstances set out above were committed by a doctor.

"The tribunal has determined that Dr Mehat has brought the profession into disrepute and that his actions have undermined public confidence in the profession."

The tribunal was of the view that public confidence in the profession would be seriously undermined if a finding of current impairment were not made in this case.

"Similarly, the tribunal determined a finding of impairment is necessary to promote and maintain proper standards of conduct for members of the medical profession. The tribunal notes however that no issue of patient safety arises. "

The tribunal decided to suspend the doctor’s registration for a period of one month, with no requirement for a review hearing.

[Matt Jarram, Nottingham Post, Friday 8 March 2019]

NOTE:

The Midwinter 2009-2010 NAG Magazine reproduced an article which had appeared in the Nottingham Evening Post on Wednesday 29 July 2009. ... Very much an example of 'haven't we been here before?'

DOCTOR FINED FOR FAILING TO ENSURE SAFETY OF TENANTS

A doctor who put his student tenants at risk must pay more than £20,000 in fines and costs.

City GP Dr Balvinder Singh Mehat has a portfolio of more than 35 houses.

Nottingham City Council found that his house in Derby Grove, Lenton, presented a "significant fire safety risk" to the seven students who lived there.

In a statement the council said: "The property was inspected by officers from the city council and identified as a house in multiple occupation which needed a licence.

“On inspection the property presented significant fire safety risks to the seven tenants and following the joint inspection by the city council and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service an Emergency Prohibition Order was served preventing the occupation of a basement bedroom.

“As a result of the prohibition order the seven tenants left the property.”

The city council said it pursued Dr Mehat before taking the matter to Nottingham Magistrates' Court.

The statement said: "Despite being given a number of warnings by the city council Dr Mehat failed to manage the property correctly or to apply for the appropriate licence.”

Dr. Mehat pleaded guilty by post and was fined £10,000 for failing to have a proper licence for the property and £4,000 in total for breaches of management regulations. He was ordered to pay £3,755.50 in legal costs, £2,763.56 in investigation costs and a victim surcharge of £15. The total amount in fines and costs was £20,534.06.

In 2006 it became a legal requirement for houses in multiple occupation to be licensed, where the property has three or more storeys and five or more unrelated occupants.

The prosecution reflects the tougher line the council is taking with landlords.

The licence requires landlords to make commitments about maintaining their properties and ensuring rubbish is removed and tenants behave.

In the summer of 2007, the council recruited 14 officers to enforce the law.

The city council has focused its efforts on three areas – Sneinton Hermitage, Lenton and Burns Street, in the Arboretum area.

Coun Graham Chapman, deputy leader, said: "The council has a firm commitment to ensuring that houses in multiple occupation in the city are operated legally and hold the necessary licence.

“We are working with landlords to give them advice and support and we have issued over 850 licences and a large number of landlords have been found to provide good accommodation and to comply with the law. 

“There are, however, landlords that break the law and in some cases provide poor accommodation.

“We try to work with these landlords but unfortunately in some cases they refuse to abide by the law and as a last resort prosecution is our only option.”