In recent months, the news has been filled with stories of rogue Landlords not taking the subject of fire safety seriously, many being hit with huge fines and in some cases, imprisonment.
Today, we look at the biggest culprits in the UK, highlighting just how important fire safety is and the need to be compliant!
£40,000 fine for Lincoln Landlord
Earlier in the month, a private Landlord, Mr. Churchill from Lincoln, was hit with the second-largest fine issued in the area, having to pay a £40,000 fee for various safety breaches. Many of these safety breaches were related to fire, with the cramped conditions of the unlicensed HMO boasting many threats.
One of the highlighted concerns was the fact that many of the rooms could be locked using padlocks, not permitting for easy exit in the event of a fire or other emergency. The Landlord had also failed to install working smoke alarms on any of the floors; a big no-no!
Upon sentencing, the magistrates said: “Ms. Churchill endangered lives by not adhering to the management regulations for fire safety. There was a lack of fire doors in the property, a lack of fire alarms and a slip hazard on the stairs.
“Ms. Churchill could easily have remedied these defects months if not years ago.”
£2,000 Fine for Unlicensed HMO Landlord in Birmingham
Following the introduction of its civil enforcement policy earlier this year, Birmingham Council has issued its first fine in the Small Heath area, fining an unlicensed HMO Landlord £2,000. According to the Council, the property, which housed 9 people, failed to take their fire safety duties seriously.
This new policy gives power to the Council, allowing them to fine Landlords up to £30,000 for not being compliant.
Cllr Sharon Thompson, a cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods, commented:
“While there are a great many landlords who provide excellent accommodation, inevitably there are some who will only respond and make necessary improvements on the threat of financial penalties or legal action. With that in mind, I’m delighted that the recent change in policy has improved our effectiveness and ultimately enabled us to take enforcement action against landlords who are letting substandard accommodation.
“HMO properties have a massive role to play in providing affordable housing to people in Birmingham, particularly as we are in the midst of a national housing crisis. However, these properties must also meet building and fire safety standards, be properly regulated, appropriately licensed and ultimately provide good quality housing for citizens who are paying monthly rent. We’ll continue to work closely with the private rented sector to ensure that people have a broad range of choice of where they live in Birmingham.”
Swansea Landlord hit with £54,000 fine for multiple offenses
Back last summer, a Swansea-based Landlord was the rather miffed off recipient of a £54,000 fine, being issued with a penalty due to multiple offenses.
These included a failure to equip properties with the correct fire safety equipment, either boasting non-existent or faulty fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and no clear fire exits.
The initial fine was £90,000. However, due to an early ‘guilty’ plea, the penalty was reduced to £54,000.
David Hopkins, a cabinet member for delivery, said: “Landlords in Swansea should take notice of the outcome of this prosecution and understand this council will not sit back and allow some landlords who rent unsafe and badly managed properties to make a profit.”
Cardiff Landlord receives £5,000 for ‘horrifying’ fire safety breaches
Here in Cardiff, rental activity is incredibly high. This is due to many factors. From being a university city full of students looking to rent to boasting young professionals coming to Cardiff to gain work experience, Landlords are spoilt for choice when looking for reliable tenants.
However, it seems that not all Cardiff Landlords are looking after their tenants as they should be.
Just recently a Cardiff Landlord, Mr. Lvin George Chisholm, was fined £5,000 for various fire safety breeches found at his Grangetown property.
According to the report, the property had a defective fire alarm system that had not been maintained, no fire protection for the gas and electricity meters, no fire escapes and an ‘unsafe’ kitchen.
Mr. Chisholm did, however, plead guilty to 12 charges.
Lynda Thorne, a cabinet member for housing and the council’s community’s councilor, stated: ‘This case is a clear example of a landlord renting out a property in a completely unacceptable state. I would like to make it clear to all the landlords that think they can rent out sub-standard properties that they need to think again.
Are you a Landlord in need of fire safety advice?
If you are looking to get your rental properties up to date with the latest fire safety equipment or you are a little consideration as to what your obligations are, we at Twenty4 can help.
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