A Leamington landlord has been fined £10,744 for failing to properly manage a two-storey property he owns in Westlea Road.
Magistrates at Nuneaton Justice Centre heard that a fire at the property - a two storey house split into seven bedsits and owned by Manjit Chima - led to an investigation by the Fire Service and Warwick District Council’s Private Sector Housing Team.
Firefighters discovered that the fire had started in the communal kitchen. Both of the doors leading from the kitchen had previously been removed by the landlord, leaving any fire in the kitchen open to the hall, stairs and ground floor rear bedrooms. A garage and outbuilding had also been converted into bedsits without being fitted with fire escape type windows.
Fortunately, all of the tenants managed to escape before the fire took hold, suffering only from smoke inhalation.
Council officers found that the fire alarm system failed to operate properly, and when asked for servicing records, it emerged that Mr Chima was unable to provide any.
Nor was he able to produce any gas or electrical inspection reports.
Before imposing the fine Magistrates told Mr Chima they had taken into account that the offences were very serious, as his failure to provide and maintain fire precautions had placed his tenants’ lives in danger.
Cllr Peter Phillips (Con, Budbrooke), who is the district council’s housing and property services portfolio holder, said “The vast majority of landlords work well with the council and provide good quality accommodation. The situation at 82 Westlea Road could easily have had a tragic outcome. “Council officers will not hesitate to prosecute where tenants’ health and safety is put at risk by landlords blatantly disregarding the law.”