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London court fines landlord for breach of fire safety legislation

No fire risk assessment was available for the premises of the fined landlord
City of Westminster Magistrates' Court fined the landlord for seven breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety)
A landlord has been ordered to pay over £20,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to breaches of fire safety legislation.

City of Westminster Magistrates' Court fined Mohammed Khan, £10,150 for seven breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Mr Khan has managed the property since 1997.

The prosecution followed a number of inspections at the property at 23 Streatham Common North Side, London SW16 3HP on 17 April, 2007 and 3 October, 2007. A number of serious breaches were found. They included no fire safety procedures in place or a way of informing tenants about fire safety arrangements, storage blocking the escape route and smoke alarms have either been removed or with low batteries inside them. There was also no fire risk assessment for the premises.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order places a duty on a defined 'responsible person' for the premises (the person who controls the premises, e.g., a landlord/manager/owner) to carry out a fire risk assessment, take appropriate measures to minimise the risk of fire and implement general fire precautions to protect people in the premises if a fire occurs. The assessment and the fire precautions must be kept under review by the 'responsible person'. In this case Mohammed Khan was the responsible person.

An enforcement notice was served on the premises highlighting the work that needed to be carried out. Fire safety inspectors revisited the property on 3 October, 2007 and it was discovered that the notice had not been complied with.

In sentencing, the District Judge viewed this as an extremely serious case and one where profit was put before safety.  Mr Khan has only fully complied with his obligations under the RRO since July 2009. The sentencing took place at City of Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday, 23 November.

Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Regulation Steve Turek said: "Housing providers like the 'Responsible Person' in this case have to carry out a fire risk assessment and even more importantly act upon its findings in a timely manner. Landlords have to know their responsibilities to protect and inform their residents if a fire breaks out. The result of not taking appropriate action can have very serious consequences."

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