A Liverpool property management firm faces a £28,000 penalty for breaking fire safety regulations in a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO). Delve into the alarming oversights that compromised tenant safety and led to significant repercussions.

09 April 2024

A property management firm in Liverpool has been handed a substantial fine of nearly £28,000 for serious breaches of fire safety regulations at a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). Newsham Park Estates Ltd incurred the penalty following an inspection by housing officials in Kensington, where alarming safety concerns were unearthed.

One of the primary violations involved a blocked fire escape route, obstructed by a large shipping container. Further exacerbating the situation, a back gate was discovered padlocked, effectively sealing off an essential exit point. These egregious oversights were brought to light after a resident raised complaints with the local council, prompting a thorough investigation.

During the inspection of the property in Belmont Drive, inspectors uncovered a litany of safety deficiencies. Notably, nine fire doors were found to be in disrepair, compromising their effectiveness in containing potential fires. Additionally, numerous holes and gaps were detected in the floor and walls of several rooms, further jeopardising the safety of occupants.

In the subsequent sentencing hearing at Wirral Magistrates Court, Newsham Park Estates Ltd pleaded guilty to four breaches of the Management of House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) Regulations 2006, reflecting the severity of the safety lapses. The fines levied against the firm amounted to £27,900, with specific penalties allocated for the padlocked gate, the obstructive shipping container, the defective fire doors, and the structural flaws in the property.

Including additional costs and a victim surcharge, the total sum payable by the company soared to £32,694. This significant penalty underscores the gravity of neglecting fire safety obligations within rental properties.

Responding to the verdict, Louise Harford, Interim Director of Housing at Liverpool City Council, emphasised the council's commitment to enforcing legal responsibilities on landlords. She stated, "This case demonstrates clearly that we will investigate and take action when there is clear evidence that landlords are not meeting their legal responsibilities." Harford reiterated that such measures are essential for ensuring the safety and well-being of tenants.

Furthermore, Harford encouraged tenants to report concerns regarding disrepair and inadequate living conditions to the council promptly. By doing so, authorities can swiftly address issues and ascertain whether any legal violations are occurring.

In response to the enforcement action, the property has since undergone re-inspection, with necessary remedial measures implemented to rectify the identified safety hazards. This proactive approach aims to safeguard the occupants and uphold the requisite standards of fire safety within the premises.

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