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04 July 2016
A landlord from Ormskirk, Liverpool, has been handed fines totalling almost £3000 after admitting to a string of breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Mr Timothy Reynolds, the landlord of the Malthouse Business Centre and the Buck I'th Vine Inn in Ormskirk, admitted to seven charges following a prosecution by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.
Fire officers became aware of the failings after a false fire alarm activation at the Malthouse, Ormskirk in July last year, where occupants were found sleeping on the first floor of the former Gymnasium.
At the second property, the Buck I'th Vine Inn, a disused public house, Fire Safety Officers and West Lancashire Borough Council's Private Sector Housing Officers on visited in late November 2015.
The inspection, which followed a referral to the Fire Service by a Lancashire Wellbeing Service, identified significant and serious contraventions of fire safety regulations.
- Inadequate fire protection for fire escape routes.
- Inadequate emergency lighting fire escape routes.
- Locked doors on exit routes.
- Combustibles on the means of escape.
- Excessive travel distances on the means of escape.
- Complete lack of suitable fire detectors.
- No fire risk assessments carried out.
- Inadequate firefighting equipment provided.
Of particular concern was the fact that a professional landlord, who was aware of his responsibility to ensure adequate fire safety provision, continued to allow unsuitable premises to be used for sleeping accommodation.
The Buck I'th Vine had up to seven persons living on the premises paying up to £100 per week, one of whom was sleeping on a mattress in a ground floor lounge.
The contraventions were considered so serious at both premises as to put persons at risk of death or serious injury in the event of fire.
Lancashire Fire Rescue Service issued Mr Timothy Reynolds with a Prohibition Notice for both premises, preventing people from sleeping on the premises.
Despite being issued with the Prohibition Notice, investigations revealed that Mr Reynolds did not take adequate measures to comply with the prohibition relating to the Malthouse allowing continued occupation after the notice was issued.
Mr Reynolds offered a guilty plea for seven which were:
- Failure to provide general fire precautions to ensure the safety of relevant persons in case of fire at the Malthouse Business Centre
- Failure to make a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment at the Malthouse Business Centre
- Failure to ensure the premises & facilities were subject to a suitable system of maintenance at the Malthouse Business Centre
- Failure to comply with a Prohibition Notice at the Malthouse Business Centre
- Failure to provide general fire precautions to ensure the safety of relevant persons in case of fire at the The Buck I'th Vine.
- Failure to make a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment at The Buck I'th Vine.
- Failure to ensure the premises & facilities were subject to a suitable system of maintenance at the The Buck I'th Vine.
Tony Crook, Group Manager, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, heading up Prevention, Protection and Road Safety said: "Mr Timothy Reynolds was the responsible person and professional landlord for these premises, and as such has a duty to ensure that people who use his premises are provided with a safe environment.
“Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service will continue to focus our efforts and resources in providing advice and support to landlords that want it, but as with this case will adopt a robust enforcement approach to deal with those who compromise on safety particularly where they show such a blatant disregard to their tenant's safety.”
Councillor Kevin Wright, portfolio holder for Community Safety, added: "This case sends out a clear message that private landlords must comply with the law or they could face prosecution."