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Landlord jailed for fire safety breaches

A student landlord has been sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay over £12,400 after pleading guilty to three charges relating to breaches in fire safety at a property he was letting in Bristol.

Gareth Wilson was guilty of failing to undertake a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment, failing to ensure escape routes and exits lead as directly as possible to a place of safety in that self-closers had not been fitted to the kitchen and lounge doors, and failing to ensure that the fire alarm system was maintained to an appropriate standard, in that there was a missing fire detector in the basement kitchen.

In June 2014 Wilson was given a four month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay costs for similar fire safety breaches. These followed a fire in January 2012 where two women had to be rescued from the roof of the property by firefighters.

The most recent sentence includes three months for each of the charges, which will run concurrently, and a further three month sentence, to run consecutively, for breaching the previous suspended sentence.

Wilson breached the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which applies to all non-domestic premises in England and Wales. A ‘responsible person’ must carry out a fire risk assessment and implement and maintain a fire management plan.

From October 2015 new legislation is due to be introduced to augment this, requiring all private sector landlords to install smoke alarms on each storey of their property and ensure they are working at the start of a tenancy. There will also be a requirement to install carbon monoxide alarms in properties burning solid fuel.

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