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

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 - London Fire Brigade

A Clapham landlord has been prosecuted for letting tenants live in his property despite 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 and £2,000 costs after pleading guilty at Inner London Crown Court on Friday 26 September 2014 to breaking fire safety regulations by failing to comply with the prohibition notice placed on the building on Clapham High Street.

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

The following day London Fire Brigade served a prohibition notice to stop people living there. Despite this, following a re-inspection in June, they 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.

Commenting on the case, 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.