Hammersmith Magistrates Court fined a landlord £4000 with £1500 costs for failing to deliver the correct fire protection for their tenants. This was after pleading guilty to all three charges, for offences under the Housing Act of 2004.
A fire had been found quickly, starting from a candle left alight. The fire services extinguished the fire and fortunately, there were no injuries to any of the occupants.
The investigation found that the property, let to 4 tenants, did not have the appropriate fire doors for the living room, bedrooms or the kitchen. The lack of fire doors meant that the tenants did not have a protected means of evacuation which meant the flames could quickly fill the escape route across the top floor landing.
With no wire-in detection system for fire, the tenants had no method of being warned. There were three battery-operated smoke alarms, but these had not been maintained sufficiently, allowing the batteries to run out of power and taken out by the tenants to stop the bleeping noise which should warn individuals to replace the batteries.
This case involved a professional landlord with multiple properties, operating his business for 30 years, with the rental income as his entire source of income.
Despite being highly regarded by tenants and the court receiving references from other happy tenants, the court proved that landlords must always be aware of their responsibilities towards individuals living in a tenanted property. Fortunately, no one was injured and this example shows why the correct fire procedures and equipment must be installed and maintained regularly. This also confirms that landlords breaking the law will be prosecuted after a successful investigation.