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A Berkshire landlord has been fined over £170,000 after risking the lives of his tenants by failing to put in place sufficient fire safety measures in his buy to let rental property.
Landlord Philip Anthony Brotherton, the owner of Crestcourt Properties Ltd, pleaded guilty to four charges under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 when he appeared before Reading Magistrates’ Court on August 24.
During an inspection from Officers from Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, a number of serious issues were found inside the rental property in Waylen Street, Reading.
The property was occupied as a house of multiple occupation (HMO), and therefore subject to stringent fire safety regulations. The inspection uncovered a number of failures with the property, including the fire alarms not working. There was also a lack of sufficient fire doors and the external fire escape route at the property was left in a poor state of repair.
The company was fined £177,000 due to the serious breaches of fire safety regulations. These breaches had the potential to seriously endanger the lives of the tenants in the property. It was therefore felt important for the local council to set a precedent to ensure that other rogue landlords in the area do not do similar things with their properties.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Simon Jefferies, spoke out about the case: ‘Our priority is to ensure the safety of the people of Berkshire. We will always work with landlords to maintain fire safety standards in premises and prosecution is the last resort. However, we hope that the significant level of this fine will send a clear message to all property owners that they have a duty to keep our communities safe and if they put anyone at risk by breaking the law, we won’t hesitate to prosecute.’