05 September 2014

A landlord has been fined £1300 and ordered to pay £2290 costs after officials found a list of safety breaches at a property in Walton, Liverpool.

An Environmental Health Officer inspected the property after a tenant complained that the gas supply had been disconnected.

The inspection found that there were no mains wired smoke detectors anywhere in the building. Battery operated smoke detectors in the bedrooms were not working.

Fire doors were damaged and either ill-fitting or did not close properly and would not provide the 30 minutes protection to allow tenants to escape in the event of fire.

There was a significant amount of rubbish and clutter in various areas of the property, including staircases, which posed a fire hazard and obstructed fire escape routes.

A leak to the water supply directly above the electrical distribution board in the basement posed a serious risk of fire and that there was a hole in the wall of the first floor mezzanine storage room which had been filled with combustible material.

The environmental health officer was unsuccessful in attempts to contact the landlord regarding fire alarms, so arranged for the fire service to fit battery operated smoke alarms as an interim measure.

Jeffrey Grant admitted 13 housing offences at Liverpool Magistrates Court.

Councillor Ann O’Byrne, Cabinet Member for Housing, commented: “It was clear to us that this property had been mismanaged for longer than a year, and although I appreciate that Mr Grant may have financial and personal problems, it is no excuse for putting people’s lives in danger.

“It is extremely fortunate that there wasn’t a fire or the consequences could have been dire.  Our message is if you can’t manage your property, sell it or put it in the hands of someone who can manage it properly.  People have a right to expect the property they rent is safe.”

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.