A Reading landlord has been jailed for four months for persistent breaches of fire safety regulations according to getreading.co.uk.
Ishaq Hussein, a landloard of a house converted into flats in Zinzan Street in Reading, pleaded guilty to 12 charges brought under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.
Reading Crown Court heard how Mr Hussein had pleaded guilty to failing to take adequate fire precautions at a previous hearing at Reading Magistrates Court in March, following an inspection of the premises, carried out by Fire Safety Officers and Reading Borough Council Environmental Health Officers.
The inspection identified several contraventions of the fire safety regulations, including no firefighting equipment, no emergency lighting, a fire alarm that had been inoperative for more than two years and no records of a fire risk assessment.
Sitting at Reading Crown Court on Thursday September 24, Judge Alexia Durran stated that Mr Hussein had been given more than six months to address the deficiencies but made little attempt to remedy the contraventions.
It was recognised that the defendant, who was joint proprietor and landlord of the premises, had made some belated attempts to comply with the regulations but several breeches had persisted, which placed the tenants at risk of death or serious injury.
“not naive or ignorant to the potential consequences”
Judge Durran acknowledge Mr Hussein’s remorse and regret and that a custodial sentence would have an effect on his family.
But she stated that he was an experienced landlord who had other rental properties and therefore was not naive or ignorant to the potential consequences of these offences and that therefore, a custodial sentence was appropriate.
She stated the appropriate sentence was one of six months imprisonment on each offence, to run concurrently. However, this was reduced to four months imprisonment for each offence in acknowledgement of Mr Hussein’s early guilty pleas.
David Walden, RBFA’s fire safety legal support manager, said: “As this case strongly illustrates, complying with fire safety legislation is not optional.
“Failure to do so can put people’s lives at risk, particularly in premises where they sleep and are therefore potentially even more vulnerable to fire.
“complying with fire safety legislation is not optional”
“I hope that this case shows that people who have responsibilities to meet fire safety obligations but fail to do so face severe penalties – not just financial but, as in this example, potentially custodial sentences as well.”
Richard Davies, lead councillor for housing at Reading Borough Council, said: “Reading Borough Council takes the safety of residents in all types of housing very seriously and the successful prosecution and imprisonment of a Reading landlord sends an important message that putting profit above safety will not be tolerated.
“Council officers flagged up the situation with the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service when it became evident there was a serious lack of fire safety precautions at the property in question.
“This is a good example of partnership work ensuring the welfare of residents.”
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