The landlord of a fire-trap shared student house was fined £10,000 for a series of safety and house in multiple occupation licensing (HMO) breaches.
Michael Hiett, aged 41, of Orrell Road, Wigan, pleaded guilty at Liverpool Magistrates Court to operating a HMO without a licence and eight safety offences.
He was fined £6,000 for failing to licence the property and £500 on each of the other charges, plus £825 costs.
The court heard Hiett had rented out the property since 2004 without a licence.
The offences came to light following complaints from a tenant.
Council officials found six students sharing the three-storey home.
The inspection uncovered the bedroom; front and back doors were fitted with key-operated locks which were fire hazards preventing quick evacuation of the building in the event of a fire.
Safety checks had not been carried out on the gas boiler or electrical appliances. A low balustrade on the second floor was a serious risk to people falling down a stair well.
District Judge Wynn Jones told Hiett he did not believe he had run an HMO for so long without a licence.
“The state of the property was a concern as it did not meet even minimum safety standards and had the potential for significant harm and it was very likely that in the event of a fire the students would not escape,” he said.
Councillor Ann O’Byrne, the council’s cabinet member for housing said: “This sentence sends a strong message to landlords who provide student accommodation that they have a great responsibility to ensure the property they rent out is safe and the council with take all the steps necessary to bring those who don’t to justice”
Hiett told the court he had started to rent the property after his family moved out and as an ‘accidental landlord’ was unaware of laws relating to licensing and fire safety.