HMO landlord pays £20,000 for fire safety breaches

The manager of a house in multiple occupation (HMO) has been ordered to pay more than £20,000 for breaching fire safety provisions of occupancy legislation.

Abdul Bashir was the licence holder and manager of a four-storey property in Prince of Wales Road, Norwich. The 53-year-old worked at the Prince of India restaurant on the ground floor and members of staff lived above the restaurant.

An inspection carried out by Norwich City Council on 9 February 2011 found that Mr Bashir had failed to comply with fire safety provisions under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. He failed to: ensure the means of escape from fire in the HMO was kept free from obstruction; maintain in good order and repair all means of escape from a fire; ensure that fire alarms were in good working order; and ensure that the common parts of the first floor were reasonably clear from obstruction.

Bashir pleaded guilty to the four charges at an earlier hearing.

Sentencing at Norwich Magistrates’ Court on Friday 28 October, magistrate Valerie Jenkins told the defendant that ‘occupants’ health and lives were put at risk’ over a period of five years.

Mr Bashir was ordered to pay £4,500 for each charge, totalling £18,000. The maximum he could have been fined was £20,000 but he was given a 10% reduction for his guilty plea. He was also ordered to pay costs of £2,200.

After the case, Otis Hernandez, private sector housing officer for Norwich City Council, said:

“The result sends out an important message to people that the council will take action against those whose negligence puts others at risk. That a fine so close to the maximum was handed out demonstrates the seriousness of these offences.”