A LANDLORD has been fined almost £19,000 over breaches to fire safety – including defective emergency lighting – at a property in Leamington Spa.
Devinder Punian, whose house in Clarendon Avenue was rented to five tenants, didn’t even have a licence for a multiple occupation.
A probe by Warwick District Council inspectors found inadequate emergency lighting in the escape routes, a defective fire alarm and a missing fire door, all of which exposed the occupants to fire risk.
Punian was unable to produce an electrical installation certificate when requested by the inspectors.
In a statement, Peter Phillips of Warwick District Council’s portfolio holder for housing services told the press: ‘The vast majority of landlords work well with the council and provide good quality accommodation. However in cases where tenants’ health and safety is put at risk we will not hesitate to apply the full force of the law.
‘The private sector housing team works hard to safeguard vulnerable tenants and I encourage all landlords and tenants who require advice, help or support to make contact with them.’
Punian has since remedied the health and safety problems at the house, including the emergency lighting on the escape routes, and has since obtained his licence to rent out his property for multiple occupation.
The prosecution of Punian is the latest in a long line of legal actions against landlords by local authorities in the UK over fire safety and indicate a increasingly tough approach. Judges have been more willing to impose a fine and increasingly set the fine at a high level. The Grenfell Tower fire in London in July has appeared to have changed the political climate and strengthened the hand of local authority inspectors.
Custodial sentences are increasingly common. Last week, London landlord Manmohan Sahib was sentenced to four months in prison over a lack of emergency lighting and other measures at a property in Ilford High Street, Essex, which inspectors described as ‘too dangerous to live in’. Inspectors found no emergency lighting in the fire escape route as well as a lack of smoke alarms and compartmentation between the commercial and residential parts of the building.
In June, former hotelier Amandeep Sandhu was jailed for eight months after admitting that his erstwhile establishment, the Cutlers Hotel in Sheffield city centre, lacked adequate emergency lighting and other fire safety equipment.
In September, Birmingham barrister Lewis Perry was fined almost £5,000 over the lack of emergency lighting and other fire safety equipment at a rental property in Hunton Road, Erdington, Birmingham.
- The Emergency Lighting Conference 2018 will focus on the requirements and responsibilities in social housing and student accommodation. It takes place in the Cavendish Conference Centre in London on Tuesday 22 May 2018 and is free to those responsible for emergency lighting estates and installations. For more information and to register, click HERE.
Main image courtesy Google Maps 2017