A UK landlord has been ordered by the courts to pay more than £5,000 for admitting to failings in safety within a rental property in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. Landlord, Lawrence Connors, of Hitchin Road in Arlesey, appeared before Magistrates in Stevenage, and accepted in court that he had neglected to follow regulations in fire safety. The property in Chiltern View, which was rented by several tenants, caught fire last November, with major damage caused to the home. Thankfully, each tenant escaped unharmed and uninjured.
The Environmental Health team at North Hertfordshire District Council took legal action against the 36-year old landlord, working alongside firefighters who had attended the scene and found that fire safety measures had not been carried out. Due to the safety risks, the council served an emergency prohibition order to forbid anyone occupying the fire-hit property. David McDonald, who chaired the Magistrates, fined Lawrence Connors £3,500, with a surcharge of £120. The court also ordered a payment of £1,407.29, making the total bill £5,027.29 for the landlord.
Bernard Lovewell, a councillor responsible for Environmental Health and Housing at North Herts District Council, has emphasised how crucial it is that landlords ensure all measures concerning fire safety are implemented, when letting out a home. Councillor Lovewell explained that it was exceptionally lucky that no tenant was injured from the fire started in the home. He went on to say that by neglecting fire and health and safety regulations, landlords not only put their tenants at grave risk of injury or death, but they also break the law in avoiding these measures.
It’s hoped this case and prosecution will send out a powerful message to landlords up and down the country that they must take safety and their responsibilities purposefully and seriously. In cases such as this, the costs of damage to the property, and protecting your investment from perils such as fire and water damage, can prove expensive for landlords. Therefore, it is essential your investment property meets health and safety standards to reduce the risks and protect your tenants.
It’s vital that the property is safe and free from hazards to health, with electrical and gas appliances installed professionally and checked regularly. A smoke alarm must be installed on each story of the property, with a carbon monoxide alarm placed in rooms which have solid fuel burning appliances, such as wood burning stoves. If you supply furniture in the property, you must ensure it is fire safe, with extinguishers and fire alarms provided if you are letting a large property with multiple occupation (HMO).
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