A property owner from Bury, Greater Manchester, has been fined after fire safety breaches put the lives of several tenants at risk.
Zohar Khan, of Hampton Grove, Bury, was fined almost £20,000 at a hearing at Bury and Rochdale Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to five offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Fire safety officials found the property on Hampton Grove had no fire doors, as well as holes in the ceiling, which meant a blaze in any part of the home could have spread, while smoke and toxic gases could have blocked the only escape route.
Combustible items were also discovered in the hall and landings, putting the wellbeing of tenants at risk. Furthermore, the property’s fire alarm was found to be faulty and switched off – and a detector that had been fitted was installed in the wrong place and could not be heard from the bedsits.
Speaking in Khan’s defence, Simon Rees said his client had fully accepted the charges being brought against him, while admitting that the property was inadequate.
The court was told how Mr Khan had carried out work to bring the property up to standard and leased it to Serco for four years.
Lynn Smith JP, chair of the bench, said the court had taken the charges “very seriously”. She went on to note that Mr Khan’s failings had brought a significant risk to every occupant of the property.
Echoing this sentiment, Geoff Harris, assistant county fire officer at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This is another case of a landlord collecting rent from multiple tenants without giving any thought to their safety.
“The fine should send a clear message to private landlords to make sure they understand their responsibilities and make their properties safe.
“The cost of making this property safe would have been a fraction of the amount Mr Khan must now pay and he has a criminal record.”
Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.