A property company and a landlord have each been found guilty of 27 charges relating to the management of two properties in Hertfordshire.
Captain Solutions and Faraz Bucha were each found guilty of 27 charges at St Albans Magistrates' Court relating to the management of the properties at Hatfield - there are also “ongoing proceedings” relating to one of the premises, according to a council statement.
Issues at the different properties related to fire safety offences including inadequate fire alarms, lighting and fire doors, and blocking key escape routes.
One property was also found to be in poor condition with neither Bucha nor Captain Solutions carrying out necessary improvements as instructed by council officers.
The council statement says the court “had grave concerns that fire regulations were wilfully and negligently ignored over a considerable period, despite being advised of this responsibility.”
The court issued a fine of £1,500 for each charge, resulting in a total fine for both properties of £81,000 and legal costs of £9,538.
The defendant failed to attend the court and the case was heard in his absence.
A council spokesperson says: “The court served a record fine for our borough, rightly reflecting the seriousness of Mr Bucha's negligence in putting people's lives at risk. The vast majority of landlords work together with us to resolve issues, but Mr Bucha ignored our advice and warnings, giving us no other choice but to launch formal proceedings.”
The spokesperson urges local landlords to join council-run accreditation scheme, PAL, “which makes it easier for landlords to understand their responsibilities.”