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Landlord jailed for failure to comply with regulations!

A private landlord has been jailed, and ordered to pay over £100,000 costs and £4,200 compensation to tenants, after a serious fire at one of his properties nearly resulted in a fatality.

A private landlord has been jailed, and ordered to pay over £100,000 costs and £4,200 compensation to tenants, after a serious fire at one of his properties nearly resulted in a fatality.

Keith Newsum, a landlord with 19 properties in North East Lincolnshire worth over £1.3 million, admitted to Grimsby Crown Court that he had failed to take safety procedures that had put the lives of his tenants at risk.

The court heard that:

  • The premise was ill-equipped with fire detectors and alarms.
  • Self-closing doors were not provided
  • Fire doors were not wedged open (Newsum lied to police about this, he maintained that it had been kept open, in fact a tenant revealed that it had been locked for four years)
  • No information of an escape route was provided to the 13 tenants, for use in the event of a fire
  • Newsum had failed to maintain the fire alarms, despite a tenant requesting they be checked following a malfunction two weeks previously
Newsum admitted failing to have carried out a sufficient fire risk assessment, failing to take general fire precautions and failing to have premises equipped with appropriate fire detectors and alarms. He also admitted failing to provide self-closing fire doors and failing to ensure fire doors were not wedged open.

During the trial, the Judge Peter Kelson QC chastised Mr Newsum, saying: ‘You put your wealth before your tenants' welfare. You did not carry out fire assessments. You never took advice from a fire safety expert. You did it all yourself. You put wealth before welfare. You were corner-cutting, just as you were with electrical work’ Fire safety is a serious consideration, to landlords and tenants – and not just because of the potential legal ramifications.

For advice you can trust on legal requirements, as well as your responsibilities under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order (2005), (commonly known as the Fire Safety Order) click here to visit a Landlord Fire Safety Guide.

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