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Landlord prosecuted over breaches of Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order

01 April 2024

LANCASHIRE FIRE and Rescue Service has successfully prosecuted a landlord for failing to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, with those breaches of the law identified as having put the lives and safety of residents and employees at risk.

The landlord – namely Ms Angela Chang – pleaded guilty to six breaches of the Fire Safety Order across two premises: Great Fortune House, located at 120 Victoria Road West and 16 St Georges Lane, Thornton-Cleveleys.

On 29 March 2021, fire safety officers from the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service inspected the properties and issued a Prohibition Notice on the flats above the premises. At the time, the flats were occupied by several employees of Great Fortune House: a family of three and a builder undertaking work on the premises.   

The six offences to which Chang pleaded guilty are as follows: 

*failure to take general fire safety precautions to ensure the safety of tenants

*failure to make a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment 

*failure to ensure that the premises were equipped with appropriate fire detection and alarm systems 

*failure to ensure that people could evacuate the premises as quickly and safely as possible in the event of an emergency situation 

*failure to properly maintain an appropriate fire evacuation procedure for the premises 

*failure to safeguard relevant persons in relation to any facilities, equipment and devices on-site

These breaches posed a serious threat to the lives and safety of the tenants (and, indeed, anyone else who may have visited the premises). As a result, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service prosecuted Chang for her failure to comply with the Fire Safety Order and the Prohibition Notice Chang subsequently entered a guilty plea on 27 December last year.

Sentencing process  

On 19 March, sentencing took place at Preston Crown Court, whereupon Chang was ordered to serve three months in prison for failure to comply with the Fire Safety Order and also ordered to pay £10,414 in costs to Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.

Ian Armistead, Group manager for the Protection Department at Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Ms Angela Chang is the ‘Responsible Person’ for these premises and, as such, has a legal duty to ensure that people who use her premises are provided with a safe environment. We hope that, going forward, this prosecution will ensure that the standard of her properties is kept within the requirements of the law.”

Armistead continued: “In our constant drive to make Lancashire a safer place, our fire safety enforcement teams are always actively seeking out other dangerous premises. We would hope that the outcome of this particular case, where a custodial sentence has been issued, sends a clear message that fire safety must always be a priority. In this instance, the consequences of the inadequate fire safety measures and inadequate management could have led to serious injury or loss of life. This left us with no other option but to take this action.”

Further, Armistead stated: “Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service will always work with those willing to address fire safety issues. Businesses can be assured that we will continue to support them in complying with the Fire Safety Order. On that note, we would urge landlords and ‘Responsible Persons’ who need to take action in order to comply with fire safety regulations to visit the Business Safety section of our website at www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk/safety/business-safety, which contains advice and guidance on how to comply with their legal duties.”