An investigation followed a fire at a house of multiple occupation in Hayes, West London in March 2009. Landlord, Mr Inderjit Singh, was found guilty of four breeches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. He was ordered to pay a total of £10,000 in costs and was given a six month sentence to be served concurrently for each of the four charges, suspended for 18 months.
The investigation showed that for a period of nine months prior to the incident Mr Singh had been contacted by Hillingdon Council with regards to general improvements required at the property and also with regards to fire safety. The property had no alarms fitted to communal areas and no risk assessment had been carried out.
Steve Turek, assistant commissioner for fire safety regulations said “Mr Singh was given plenty of time to improve fire safety inside the property but failed to comply. ” He also stated that the London Fire Brigade work very hard to ensure that landlords comply with current legislation and in cases where improvements are not made they will result in prosecution.
A Manchester hotel, Hallmark Manchester, part of the Hallmark Hotels Group, was found to have no automatic smoke detectors or manual call points on the third floor of the hotel as well as having defective smoke detection units on other floors and fire escapes that were not to standard. It was also evident that staff had not received adequate training in fire safety.
Three breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 were brought against the hotel, to which Hallmark Hotels pleaded guilty.
Hallmark Hotels were given a fine of £25,000 for each offence and £52,000 costs, in total a fine of £127,000.
Anne Whitehead, health and safety officer at Hallmark Hotels commented that there were some frustrations over the conviction and fine as the company had inherited a list of issues after acquiring the hotel, formerly The Belfry House Hotel. She also stated that Hallmark Hotels were addressing these issues through a £5m refurbishment initiative.
Hallmark Hotels gave reassurance that the safety and comfort of their guests was of paramount importance to the company and had always kept a clear record for their fire and safety.
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London Fire Brigade have successfully prosecuted two landlords for breaching fire safety regulations in one of their houses that had been converted into bedsits.
After a fire had broken out at the premises, inspectors found that the landlords were guilty of a number of breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The landlords were informed of the breaches, which included inadequate fire detection, absence of emergency lighting along the stairway, absence of proper fire doors to bedrooms and communal kitchen as well as inadequate provision of fire extinguishers and fire blankets and no fire risk assessment available.
The landlords failed to complete work that had been requested of them to rectify the breaches of the legislation. This resulted in a prosecution being brought against them. The two landlords have been sentenced to six months imprisonment and ordered to pay £5000 costs each.
This case should remind landlords of their responsibilities and of the consequences of not ensuring that the rented accommodation that they own complies with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
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