Businessman fined for fire safety offences in property he sublet
On 18 January 2016, businessman John Mark Cashin was convicted and fined £1,000 for five breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs plus a victim surcharge of £52, totalling £6,052.
Mr Cashin pleaded not guilty to four of the offences and guilty to a fifth offence at the premises in Church Drive, Shirebrook, Derbyshire. He rented the property from its owner and went on to sublet it to four individual tenants, without addressing the necessary fire safety improvements required by law for a house in multiple occupation.
Following a complaint about the lack of fire safety precautions, fire inspectors visited the property on 18 June 2014. A fire safety audit identified several breaches, including:
apparent lack of a fire risk assessment
inadequate fire detection and alarm system – several smoke alarms were found in a kitchen drawer
no provision for self-closing bedroom doors – the doors themselves were inadequate
lack of window escapes from the first floor
no portable firefighting equipment was provided
inadequately tested and maintained fire alarm system and emergency lighting
An enforcement notice was issued in July 2014 requiring Mr Cashin to address the breaches, however his failure to comply with it resulted in legal proceedings.
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service group manager Phil Mitchell said: ‘When people rent a bedsit, or rooms in a property with other tenants, they should expect to be able to safely leave the property in an emergency situation. To enable this, a suitable fire alarm system must be present along with access to an emergency exit that can be accessed and safely used.
‘Landlords should recognise that they have a legal responsibility to ensure that any facilities they provide for their tenants have a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment in place and that it is reviewed regularly… The public should continue to be reassured that legal action will be used when necessary where any serious breaches of fire safety regulations are identified.’
Fire Risk Management