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05 May 2015
A London landlord has been handed a £160,000 fine and ordered to pay £40,000 in costs after a fatal fire revealed a string of fire safety breaches.
The fire, which broke out at the property owned by Mrs Surinder Rana on 8 August 2011, spread across the ground floor, first floor and loft.
Four fire engines and 20 firefighters attended the blaze at the house in multiple occupation, saving several residents.
One man, however, was found in the heavily smoke filled kitchen on the ground floor, and died shortly after arriving at hospital.
Upon inspection of the premises, fire inspectors found there was no means to escape the premises quickly, there were no fire detectors, smoke alarms or firefighting equipment, and no proper risk assessment was in place at the property.
A neighbouring house, also owned by Mrs Rana and used as a house in multiple occupation, prompted a prohibition notice, preventing their use as residential accommodation until they had been fitted with suitable safety measures.
London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Neil Orbell said: “Landlords have a responsibility to keep their tenants safe from fire and if they are ignoring those responsibilities and putting the people living in their properties at risk we will not hesitate to prosecute.
“The sentence handed down to Mrs Rana is a stark reminder to landlords that the court’s take fire safety as seriously as we do and that the penalties for ignoring it are severe.”
Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.