HMO owner fined for ‘dangerous’ fire safety breaches

HMO owner fined for ‘dangerous’ fire safety breaches

THE LANDLORD in Grimsby was prosecuted over a failure to ‘meet some of the basic fire safety standards’ for a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

Grimsby Telegraph reported on the prosecution of Anthony Hughes, whose property in the town was rented out as an HMO and breached ‘a number of regulations’, with his case the ‘latest in a string of cases pursued’ by North East Lincolnshire Council’s housing enforcement team’ in what it calls a ‘sustained campaign’ for improving housing standards.

The HMO was inspected by enforcement officers from the council’s regeneration partner ENGIE and Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, with the inspection finding that the property had ‘failed to meet some of the basic fire safety standards’ and ‘breached a number of safety regulations’. These included ‘inadequate fire alarms’ for an HMO and ‘no evidence that they had been tested’, as well as ‘insufficient’ fire protection for escape routes.

Fire doors on escape routes ‘had no intumescent strips, smoke seals or door closers’, while there was no emergency lighting for communal areas, and no emergency contact details for the manager or owner of the property. At Grimsby Magistrates’ Court, Mr Hughes pleaded guilty to five offences under the Housing Act, and was fined £750 plus additional costs of £787 and a victim surcharge of £75, for a total fine of £1,612.

Peter Wheatley, council portfolio holder for housing, stated: ‘This is a great result and follows a significant piece of work that we have undertaken to show that we will pursue landlords that do not follow the law. We want to work with landlords to ensure that they are on the right side of the law. If landlords are unsure of what they should be providing for their tenants, they can contact our housing team for more information.

‘A number of local landlords and home-owners rent out rooms in their properties to individuals without realising that this could change the use of the property to a HMO. These properties may require additional fire precautions such as interlinked fire alarms, fire doors and emergency lighting.

From October this year, all HMOs and shared houses with five or more unrelated people living in them will require a mandatory licence from the Council.

‘All residents need to be aware that even if you live in a property and rent out rooms to friends and colleagues you could fall foul of the HMO legislation.’