‘Death risk’ landlord jailed for 18 months due to fire safety breaches

23 July 2014

A landlord showed a “callous disregard” for safety as he left tenants to live in “squalor” in a former hotel which had just one emergency exit, a court was told.

Fire and council officers found a catalogue of breaches when they searched the property. Inside the property investigators found four tenants, despite the building having no working fire alarm system, combustible materials close to the exit and other escape routes chained or nailed shut.

The landlord was sentenced to an 18 month prison term for breaches of the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 that posed a “serious risk to life”.

The landlord of the property had previously been found guilty of a number of offences relating to breaches of the regulations, including beds blocking fire escapes, gas cylinders stored by the only exit, a lack of emergency lighting and no working fire alarm system.

A spokesperson for the fire authority commented, “Officers said they had never seen a building providing accommodation in such a poor state of disrepair and such poor fire safety standards.

In court, the Judge commented “If a fire had started in [the property] we could have been facing a loss of life.”

Sentencing him, the Judge also said the landlord’s previous convictions, including many breaches while the property still operated as a hotel, left him with no option but to jail him.

In addition to the sentence, the property owner was also ordered to pay a penalty of more than £5,200 to cover the cost of the investigation and legal costs.

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