London Fire Brigade

Muswell Hill landlord fined for putting tenants at risk

25 November 2013

A Haringey landlord has been fined a total of  £12,520 for flouting fire safety laws in a Muswell Hill house he was renting out.

Wayne Chodosh, who owned the semi-detached property on Duke’s Avenue, pleaded guilty to four offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and was  sentenced at Tottenham Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday (20 November).

At the time of the offences the property was divided into nine separate flats and was being used as an unlicensed ‘house of multiple occupation.’

London Fire Brigade had been called to the three storey house following reports of a fire on 10 January 2011. Although  there was no fire – just  a poorly working dehumidifier - firefighters noticed numerous breaches of fire safety regulations.

A joint inspection carried out by the Brigade’s fire safety officers and Haringey Council found poorly maintained and fitted fire doors, no working fire alarm system and no emergency lighting. They also discovered that there no fire risk assessment had been carried out for the building.

London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Regulation Steve Turek said: “Landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure that the people living in the properties that they own are safe from the risk of fire.

“If we find people ignoring these responsibilities and putting people’s lives at risk by flouting these laws we will have no hesitation in prosecuting them.”

Mr Chodosh no longer owns the premises which have now been  refurbished and no longer operate as a  house of multiple occupation.

Ends

Notes to editors

• Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, employers or those who have control over a premises (known as the ‘responsible person’) are required by law to carry out a fire risk assessment and act on its findings. The risk assessment should also identify actions which need to be taken in order to protect the building from fire. It must be kept under constant review and amended if any changes are made to the premises.

• London Fire Brigade carries out around 16,000 fire inspections of premises each year and although the majority of buildings are managed well in regard to fire, there are still too many buildings that do not have an adequate fire risk assessment and as a result have fire exits blocked, inadequate fire alarms or poor training for staff. The Brigade can and does prosecute companies or individuals if there are breaches to fire legislation and though court action is a last resort, recent cases show that the courts will issue fines or even consider prison sentences for serious cases.