30 May 2017
A landlord and management company have been landed with a record fine of £250,000 after what London Fire Brigade called a ‘potentially lethal’ blaze.
The fine is the biggest financial penalty handed down in a fire safety prosecution brought by LFB relating to a single privately rented property.
Property owner Crownpark Investments Ltd along with City Estates, which managed the six-floor terraced house conversion, were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court after pleading guilty to three offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Sentencing the defendants, His Honour Judge Griffiths said the landlord and management company had been aware of the fire safety failings within the property but reacted “by putting their heads in the sand”.
He also added the building was an “accident waiting to happen.”
Eight fire engines and around 60 firefighters were called to a blaze at the property in 2011, which ripped through the building and left its second, third and fourth floors badly damaged.
Two people had to be rescued from the roof of the premises.
Following the fire, LFB fire safety inspectors discovered numerous fire safety failings, including:
- The doors to the individual flats provided inadequate protection to the escape route in the event of a fire
- There was no fire alarm or fire detection system inside the flats or communal areas of the building
- There was no fire risk assessment in place for the building.
Following the court case the Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Dan Daly said: “The landlord and management company showed utter contempt for the safety of their tenants when they so blatantly ignored the fire safety failures in the building.
“Hopefully the size of the fine handed down in this case will send a strong message to other private landlords who ignore their fire safety responsibilities in such a brazen way.
“This was a potentially lethal fire and it was only thanks to the skill and bravery of the crews who rescued the17 residents trapped inside that nobody died or was seriously injured.
“The actions of the landlord and management company not only put the lives of the property’s occupants at risk they put the lives of those firefighters sent to tackle the blaze at risk .”
Crownpark Investments Ltd received a £100,000 fine and were ordered to pay £24,000 costs as follows:
- Failing to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment - £80,000
- Failing to equip the premises with adequate fire detection - £10,000
- Failing to ensure persons could evacuate the premises safely - £10,000
City Estates received £150,000 fine and were ordered to pay £25,500 costs as follows:
- Failing to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment - £120,000
- Failing to equip the premises with adequate fire detection - £15,000
- Failing to ensure persons could evacuate the premises safely - £15,000
Original sourceLondon Fire Brigade