London Fire Brigade

Clapham landlord fined £10,000 for breaking fire safety laws

30 September 2014

We have successfully prosecuted a Clapham landlord who let tenants carry on living in his property despite our fire safety inspectors slapping a notice on it to prevent  its use due to serious fire safety concerns.

Panayiotis Chrysostomou was hit with a £10,000 fine after  pleading guilty at Inner London Crown Court on Friday (26 Sept)  to breaking fire safety regulations by failing to comply with the prohibition notice placed on the building on Clapham High Street.

Our  inspectors were alerted to the property, which was divided into eight bedsits, after firefighters called to a blaze in a neighbouring building raised concerns.

Serious fire risks found

When they visited the property on 7 May, 2013, inspectors  found it had:

• no smoke alarms,
• no emergency lighting and no fire doors
• poorly managed cooking equipment in each bedsit,
• a single escape route blocked by furniture and that the
• electrics that were unmaintained throughout
• no fire risk assessment.

Landlord ignored Brigade instruction

On 8 May 2013, due to the serious fire safety risks we discovered, a prohibition notice was placed on the property to stop people living there. Despite this, following a re-inspection in June, we found tenants still living in the first three storeys of the four floor property and that almost nothing had been done to improve fire safety.

Following the sentencing on Friday, our Deputy Head of Fire Safety Regulation Mark Andrews said:

“This property was a potential death trap. The lack of smoke alarms, absence of any fire doors, as well as the blocked escape route would have put the lives of those people living in these bedsits in serious danger if a fire had broken out.

“Landlords have a clear responsibility under fire safety laws to ensure that people living in their premises are safe from the risk of fire and this fine should send a stark warning that  if we find landlords are ignoring those responsibilities we won’t hesitate to prosecute.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

Panayiotis Chrysostomou  pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a prohibition or restriction imposed by a prohibition notice in respect of the premises. Failure to comply with any prohibition or restriction imposed by a prohibition notice is an offence under Article 32(2)(h) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. For the offence he was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 court costs.