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A Marylebone pub landlord has been hit with a £35,000 fine for breaking fire safety laws and potentially putting her customers and tenants at risk after we successfully prosecuted them.
Romana Chohan, who runs The Bell House, on Bell Street, pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and was sentenced at Hammersmith Magistrates Court on (Tuesday, 9 December). Mrs Chohan was also ordered to pay court costs of £9,000.
The business consisted of a traditional pub on the ground floor, with bedsits on the upper floors. At the time of the offences Mrs Chohan had been carrying out refurbishment work on the property. After a complaint made by a prospective tenant of one of the rooms above the pub, Westminster Council alerted us to the property.
Our fire safety officers carried out an inspection in September 2012 and raised a number of concerns. These included:
• inadequate fire detection in the property,
• escape routes that wouldn’t offer protection from fire and smoke
• failure to maintain fire extinguishers
• no fire risk assessment for the property.
We issued the landlord with an enforcement notice in October 2012, detailing what work needed to be done to address their concerns but after a follow-up visit in November they found that a number of the fire safety issues that had been raised still hadn’t been addressed.
A further inspection was carried out on 15 January 2013. By this time, the refurbishment of the pub had been completed and it was open for business, but Mrs Chohan had still not complied with the enforcement notice and we took the decision to prosecute.
London Fire Brigade’s Deputy Head of Fire Safety Regulation Mark Andrews said: “The size of the fine imposed in this case should serve as a stark reminder to landlords and business owners of their fire safety responsibilities. If, as in this case, we find they are ignoring them and are putting their customers and tenants at serious risk of fire we won’t hesitate to prosecute.”