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Big fine for landlord who failed to ensure basic fire precautions

The landlord of a rental property in Harrogate has been fined over £8,200 after pleading guilty to two offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Michael Hassall from Harrogate failed to take general fire precautions and failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment of the property.

In August North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service attended a serious fire at the property. The blaze had started in a ground floor bedroom, quickly spreading to the hallway and forcing one tenant to make his escape from an upstairs window. Another tenant also managed to escape.

Investigators found that there were no fire detectors fitted within the premises and that doors were not to the required standard.

The fire service says both tenants were extremely lucky to escape unharmed, given they had no warning of the fire. Two neighbours who attempted to put the fire out were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation

During sentencing the magistrates said: “Even though there was confusion around whether the premises was a House in multiple Occupation (HMO), the defendant still had a duty of care and responsibility for the safety of tenants in that property.”

Karen Galloway prosecuting solicitor for the fire authority stated that: “Those living at the address were placed at risk of death or serious injury owing to the inadequate fire safety measures in place. There is no doubt that had the fire authority not taken action the serious contraventions in this case would have continued unchecked”.

Hassall was fined a total of £8205.74, which included prosecution costs of £2085.74 and £120 victim surcharge.

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