Landlord fined £50,000 for lack of emergency lighting cert

Numbers 249 and 251 Pitsmoor Road, Sheffield
Numbers 249 and 251 Pitsmoor Road, Sheffield, scene of the breaches of fire safety regulations

A SHEFFIELD landlord has been fined £50,000 for a catalogue of breaches of fire safety standards, including the absence of a certificate for the emergency lighting.

Although Naveed Hussain brought it an electrician in July to test and repair the fire alarm and emergency lighting his two adjacent properties in Pitsmoor Road, Sheffield, it was a case of too little, too late for the court, which imposed the exemplary fine for his track record in only fixing problems when compelled to do so.

‘Having regard to a track record of housing offences, Mr Hussain was assessed to be highly culpable for the offences,’ said the judge, Martin Rodger QC, ‘a classification that meant he had intentionally or recklessly breached or wilfully disregarded his obligations under the law.’

Hussain was fined for failing to keep the tenants safe at numbers 249 and 251 Pitsmoor Road, which had been subdivided into 24 bedsits.

Inspectors from the local authority discovered the violations of the standards during an inspection in 2018. 

As well as the absence of certification of the emergency lighting installation, these related to the servicing of the automatic fire detection control panel, the fire extinguishers, the integrity of the fire escape route, the lack of doors with the required 60-minute fire resistance, a defective central heating system,, defects in a number of electrical sockets, damp, ill-fitting windows and doors, cracked window panes and defective handrails on the staircases. 

Hussain was then formally advised to carry out remedial work but this didn’t happen. 

The prosecution of Naveed Hussain is the latest in a long line of convictions which have led some to speculate that the courts are less and less willing to tolerate dangerous fire conditions is restaurants, bars, hotels and homes of multiple occupation. 

  • In November last year,  the owner of the Indian restaurant Masala, in Curzon Street, Derby, Mohammed Dilawar Hussain, pleaded guilty this month to breaches of failing to comply with a number of fire regulations at the eaterie. This included the absence of emergency lighting. There was none in the escape routes in any part of the building, despite evidence that the upper floors were occupied by staff members.
  • In October 2019, a Luton property company was slapped with fine of almost £67,000 for a lack of emergency lighting and other fire safety measures at three properties in the town. Zenith Accommodation Limited, which rents out houses of multiple occupation (HMOs), faced charges over a semi-detached house in Dorel Close and two period terrace homes in Cromwell Road.
  • In May 2019,  a Hertfordshire landlord was fined £50,000 for the lack of emergency lighting and other failings at two rented properties. The company which rents the homes, Lettings of London Limited, pleaded guilty to 18 offences relating to two houses of multiple occupation in Goldings Crescent, Hatfield.
  • In July 2018, Bijan Keshmiri of Wragby Road, Lincoln received a record fine of £400,000 over the lack of emergency lighting, faulty standard lighting with a risk of electrocution and other breaches of fire and health and safety legislation in respect of four self-contained flats on Rosemary Lane and a property converted into two self-contained flats on Spa Buildings, both in Lincoln.
  • Also in July 2018, landlord Yordan Kaloyanov of Millhouse Rise, Immingham, North East Lincolnshire was fined £1,380 over an absence of emergency lighting at his property and other offences.
  • In January of that year landlord Manmohan Sahib was jailed for four months in prison over a lack of emergency lighting and other measures at his property at 361 Ilford High Street, Essex. He was also 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.
  • In the same month, private landlord Devinder Punian was fined almost £19,000 over breaches to fire safety – including defective emergency lighting – at a property in Clarendon Avenue, Leamington Spa.
  • In June 2017, former hotelier Amandeep Sandhu was sent to prison for eight months after admitting that his establishment, Cutlers Hotel in Sheffield, lacked adequate emergency lighting and other fire safety equipment.
  • In September of that year, Birmingham barrister Lewis Perry was fined almost £5,000 over the lack of emergency lighting and other fire safety equipment at a rental property in Hunton Road, Erdington, Birmingham.