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Prison sentence after buy to let property's "truly shocking" fire risk

A buy to let property owner has received a four month prison sentence for letting out a property he had already been warned was too dangerous to live in.

Manmohan Sahib, of Ilford in Essex, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court after pleading guilty to three offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, including three breaches of a prohibition notice.

London Fire Brigade fire inspectors had raised a series of serious safety concerns including a lack of fire compartmentation between the commercial and residential parts of the building; issues relating to the maintenance and suitability of fire doors; a lack of smoke alarms; and no emergency lighting in the fire escape route.

Fire officers told the court Sahib knew his premises were not supposed to be occupied while a prohibition notice was in force but on re-inspection they found people living there, including his disabled brother and his carer. There also appeared to be young children living at the premises.

Sahib claimed he was unaware residents had returned after being asked to leave and that they must have ‘broken in’. 

He was sentenced to four months immediate imprisonment and ordered to pay full prosecution costs of £23,076.  

A confiscation order of £8,400, relating to income received while the premises were prohibited, was also imposed. 

London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Dan Daly says: “The fact that the landlord went ahead with the occupation of the building despite being issued with a prohibition notice is truly shocking. Not only does it show a blatant disregard for fire safety, it put the lives of anyone living there at serious risk should a fire have broken out.”

Yesterday, we reported that London Fire Brigade declared that the new register of rogue letting agents and landlords would help save lives because it would alert tenants to irresponsible property management. 

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