A landlord has been handed a £50,000 bill after admitting serious fire safety breaches in his rented office block.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service found that the fire risk assessment had not been reviewed at Broadway House in Bedford since December 2015. During an audit of the multi-storey block in June 2019, it also discovered that the external fire escape had missing steps, numerous fire doors were in a poor statement of repair, there was an inadequate fire alarm system, fire exit signs and fire action notices and no evidence that the firefighting equipment, fire alarm and emergency lighting systems had been maintained.

Firefighting equipment

Owners Mr and Mrs Lusty were given two months to sort out repairs but further visits showed that while new firefighting equipment had been provided, nothing else had been done.

These failings put people at risk of serious injury or death should a fire occur, Luton Magistrates’ Court heard. It imposed a fine of £10,000 for each of the four offences and ordered Lusty to pay full costs of £10,525.

Enforcement action

Chief fire officer Andrew Hopkinson says the prosecution sends out a clear message to landlords that if they do not comply with the required fire safety regulations, it is prepared to take enforcement action to keep people safe. He adds: “This individual didn’t comply with the law and left their tenants at serious risk by affecting the ability of the occupants to safely escape should a fire occur. We will look to provide support and advice where required, but if people are put at risk, then we will not hesitate in taking further action.”

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