Building owner and managing agent sentenced for fire safety breaches
07 March 2023
A BUILDING owner and a property managing agent appeared at Leicester Crown Court on Monday 27 February having entered guilty pleas at a previous hearing in relation to fire safety breaches at a high-rise residential building in the city centre. Both the building owner and the managing agent pleaded guilty to offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service has a robust inspection programme in place and, as part of that process, several inspections and audits were carried out at the seven-storey. multi-occupancy block of flats.
Continuous engagement led to the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service issuing several notices regarding fire safety issues. The issues outlined were not resolved. As such, the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service took the decision to prosecute under Article 32 of the Fire Safety Order.
Summation in court
Sentencing building owner Treasure HK Ltd and managing agent Affitto Estate Agents Ltd/company director Manjeet Hayre, Judge Spencer said in the case summation: “In my judgement, there was a shambolic regard for the required fire safety measures over a four-year period. There were no less than 58 call-outs, which cost substantial amounts of money. In broad terms there was a failure to comply and take general fire precautions. There was no fire risk assessment, no communication, no competent person to assist with implementation, no maintenance and a failure to comply with enforcement notices. It’s a depressing picture.”
Treasure HK Ltd was fined a total of £79,000 including costs, while Affitto Estate Agents Ltd/Manjeet Hayre was fined a total of £101,000 encompassing costs, including two years’ conditional discharge.
Sanjay Bulsara (fire protection team leader at the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service) said: “As this case strongly illustrates, complying with fire safety legislation is not optional. The courts take failures of fire safety responsibilities very seriously. Failure to ensure that suitable and sufficient fire safety arrangements are in place and maintained can put people’s lives at risk, particularly so in premises where they sleep and are therefore even more vulnerable to fire.”
Bulsara added: “I hope this case shows that companies, landlords and managing agents who have responsibilities to meet fire safety obligations, but fail to do so, face severe penalties. Where ‘Responsible Persons’ fail in their duties and responsibilities to uphold fire safety legislation, we will not hesitate to prosecute.”