A rogue landlord in the North West of England is due to be sentenced next week at Liverpool Crown Court, after pleading guilty to seven charges relating to fire safety.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service brought about the charges to Mr Timothy Reynolds, following different inspections of properties he managed in Ormskirk.
Breaches of fire safety
The first inspection was instigated after a fire alarm was activated. When fire safety officers inspected the property, they found occupants sleeping on the first floor of a disused gymnasium.
Fire officers and West Lancashire Council’s private sector officers then inspected a disused public house, again managed by Reynolds, last November.
This inspection uncovered sub-standard fire protection for escape routes, inadequate emergency lighting, locked doors on exit routes, vast distances to fire doors and poor equipment.
A statement from the Fire Service said, ‘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.’
Mr Reynolds offered a guilty plea for seven offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. In addition, he was prosecuted by the council and pleaded guilty to one charge of allowing occupation of a property as an unlicensed HMO.
Subsequently, Reynolds was fined £1,600 and told to pay costs of £1,552.50, a victim surcharge of £120.
As a buy-to-let landlord, it is imperative that you are aware of your fire safety responsibilities. In order to comply with legislation and for you to be covered by insurance, you must:
- provide a smoke alarm on each floor of your rental property
- install carbon monoxide alarms in all rooms with a woodburner or useable fireplace
- ensure all fire escapes are easily accessible and unlocked
- make sure all furnishings and furniture are fireproof
- for HMO’s, provide fire alarms and extinguishers