A Norwich landlord has been ordered to pay £2000 costs and given a 12-month conditional discharge after being prosecuted by Norwich City Council for not safeguarding tenants against the risk of fire.
Landlord Demetrios Asprou pleaded guilty at to 11 offences under the Housing Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Regulations 2006 on 25 October.
Besides running a house in multiple occupation at 17 Prince of Wales Road without obtaining a licence to do so under the Housing Act 2004, Norwich Magistrates’ Court heard how an inspection by private sector housing officers in May 2012 found tenants were living with a number of hazards. These included:
- a blocked fire escape
- no smoke detectors in the living room, bedrooms or kitchen
- no fire doors (and therefore no protected means of escape from the top floor)
- inadequate fixed heating within the bedrooms (with tenants using plug-in heaters, which increased the risk of fire and potential for overloading electrical sockets)
- an unsecured living room ceiling rose hanging from its wires, posing a risk of injury from the fitment falling or an electrical fault
- furniture that would not provide effective fire retardation
- a damaged partition wall between the living room and toilets, creating avoid through which a fire could easily spread a damaged ceiling above, and a broken window within, the basement.
Private sector housing officer Alistair Amery says: "We take cases where landlords have not fitted adequate fire detection systems or taken all necessary steps to reduce the risk of fire very seriously. There is no excuse for putting tenants in jeopardy by not providing sufficient fire protection. We hope other landlords take note from this prosecution and make every effort to keep their tenants safe."