A Liverpool private landlord has been issued with fines for failing to protect his tenants against fire risk.
Landlord Gerard Canty, of Newsham Drive, Liverpool, was told he must pay nearly £4,000 after pleading guilty to eight offences that relate to serious breaches in the management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). Canty also pleaded guilty to the failure to obtain a HMO licence for his rental property.
The safety issues were discovered following an inspection of the property, located in Hartington Road, Toxteth. The fire risk issues detected would place the tenants occupying the property, all of whom were students, at severe risk of death in the event of a fire.
It was found that some of the fire doors did not conform to fire door standards due to their failure to shut properly. They were also fitted with key operated mortice locks, which would have inhibited the tenants’ ability to easily escape in a fire. There was also found to be a defect with the fire alarm system that revealed that it was not being correctly maintained, whilst the fire extinguishers in the property had also not been correctly serviced. The staircase was also not fire protected.
While sentencing, distract judge Wendy Lloyd cast back to the tragic fire in Grenfell Tower, reminding Canty of how quickly fire can become lethal when buildings are insufficiently protected. She admonished him for ‘cutting corners.’
Cabinet member for housing, councillor Frank Hont, commented on the case: ‘Protecting the private tenants of Liverpool is a priority. Those who find themselves in sub-standard accommodation can rest assured the council will take all appropriate action necessary to protect them where we are informed about it. Licensing for this type of HMO has been in force for over 10 years and there is simply no excuse.’