Landlord admits serious fire safety flouts

Fire flout property on Hawkhurst Road, Penwortham
Fire flout property on Hawkhurst Road, Penwortham
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A landlord who continued to rent out a house to tenants despite being warned it was a death trap has narrowly avoided prison.

Andrew Kennedy, 38, of Churchfield, Fulwood, Preston, had five people living at the mid-terraced two storey house on Hawkhurst Road, Penwortham despite no smoke alarms being fitted.

Preston Crown Court was given a damning dossier of evidence as Kennedy pleaded guilty to five fire safety charges and flouting a prohibition notice.

He was given 39 weeks suspended for 18 months and 150 hours unpaid work.

The court heard a complaint was made to the fire service by a former resident about the unconverted attic, which Kennedy rented to him.

Fire officers and housing officers discovered serious fire safety breaches including no alarms, inadequate fire separation and inadequate means of escape from the attic – a removable wooden ladder through the hatch.

Judge Robert Altham called him “greedy and selfish” after hearing Kennedy had been issued a prohibition notice, but let residents remain there and allowed new tenants in.

Tony Crook, of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “ I hope this case shows that people who have responsibilities to meet fire safety obligations but fail to do so face severe penalties – not just financial but, as in this example, potentially a custodial sentence as well.”