A PAIR of Leamington landlords have been fined more than £25,000 for failing to correctly manage their property.
As part of an ongoing clampdown by Warwick District Council into houses of multiple occupation (HMO), Rajvir Rai and Bhajno Rai – landlords of 8a Victoria Terrace – were made to pay £27,472.08 including costs.
Magistrates at Nuneaton Justice Centre heard how a routine inspection had been carried out by environmental health officers at the four-storey property, which is occupied as four bedsits, in January 2015.
Officers found there to be no working fire alarms and inadequate means of escape.
The bedsits were located above the Next Stop newsagents and on arrival, the building was said to be in a very poor condition.
The court was told how many of the doors to the rooms were not fire doors and only one smoke detector was found in the entire building, which was not operational.
The door to the kitchen had also been removed, exposing tenants to an imminent fire risk.
An Emergency Prohibition Order was narrowly avoided when the landlord was told to fit a fire door to the kitchen and install a series of radio-linked detectors as an interim measure.
The joint landlords were also unable to provide a current Gas Safety Certificate for the gas boiler.
Before imposing the fine, magistrates told the landlords the offences were very serious as failing to provide and maintain fire precautions had put their tenants’ lives in danger.
They also added it was only when threatened with emergency closure that certain works were undertaken.
Coun Peter Phillips, district council spokesman for housing services, said: “The vast majority of landlords work well with the council and provide good quality accommodation.
“The situation at 8a Victoria Terrace could easily have had a tragic outcome.
“Our officers will not hesitate to prosecute where tenants’ health and safety is at risk and landlords blatantly disregard the law.
“The Private Sector Housing Team works hard to safeguard vulnerable tenants in the sector and I encourage all landlords and tenants who require advice, help or support to contact the team.”
*PRIVATE landlords are being urged to act now and ensure they are in keeping with new laws.
From today (Thursday) it will be compulsory for smoke alarms to be fitted in every floor of rental homes. Carbon monoxide alarms must also be fitted in properties which burn solid fuels.
Alarms must be checked by landlords at the start of every new tenancy with fines of up to £5,000 if they don’t comply.
Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS) say the new law will save dozens of lives a year.
Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/fireandrescue for further information.