Court told how Preston landlord put live at risk over fire safety rules

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
0
Have your say

A private landlord put the lives of his tenants at risk when he failed to secure his property against the risk of fire.

Andrew Kennedy, 38, was told he must not allow tenants to sleep at the property in Hawkshead Road, Penwortham, after it was discovered there was no smoke alarm, no fire safety lighting, and inadequate means of escape from the house.

This is a serious case involving a number of failures to comply. The court has the power to impose an immediate prison sentence.

But despite the prohibition notice, issued by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, Kennedy continued to let the rooms to tenants – even advertising the rooms for rent on the website easyroommate.com.

Housing officers discovered new tenants had moved in since the notice was issued on March 5 2015, in what they described as “a complete failure to prioritise the safety of potential tenants or to obey the lawful notice.”

Kennedy pleaded guilty to five breaches of the Regulatory Reform Order 2005, when he appeared at Preston Crown Court.

The offences came to light when a tenant contacted South Ribble Watch Manager Paul Ratcliffe, raising concerns about fire safety at the terraced house.

The tenant had viewed a double room but had been told by the landlord that the room was taken and offered an unconverted attic room instead.

Access to the room was through a loft hatch and ladder and there were exposed wires posing a risk of fire.

The tenant stayed at the property for just two days and on February 23, fire officers visited the property to follow up the report.

Officers discovered five people living at the house - including one in the dangerous attic space.

They identified a number of breaches of the fire safety regulations, which set out a number of duties for landlords relating to the prevention of fire and safety of tenants.

The concluded there was a “serious and imminent risk to life” and issued the prohibition notice, which was displayed on the door of the property.

From March 5 2015, no-one should have been staying at the house, but not only had some tenants failed to leave, a number of new tenants had moved in since the notice was issued.

Kennedy, of Churchfield, Preston, told Lancashire Fire and Rescue staff he was unable to attend an interview on May 7 2015 as he was feeling unwell.

However he admitted the offences and falls to be sentenced on July 21.

The Honorary Recorder of Preston, Judge Mark Brown, told him: “This is a serious case involving a number of failures to comply.

“The court has the power to impose an immediate prison sentence.

“The decision on the day will depend on the judge.”

He granted Kennedy bail to return to court in July for sentence.