A landlord is facing prosecution after endangering tenants by letting a property with multiple serious safety issues.
Paul Turner appeared for trial before Boston Magistrates facing prosecution for seven counts of fire safety on top of 15 further charges for failing to comply with licensing regulations.
Turner had failed to obtain the adequate licensing for a house in multiple occupation (HMO). The house also suffered from a lack of usable electrical sockets, with trailing extension leads utilised as a replacement power supply. An extreme case of this is represented by a hole that had been cut into the ceiling for electric cables to run through to provide electricity for a hob in the room below. Several rooms in the property were devoid of heating, and a fridge freezer had been placed in front of a fire exit, completely obstructing the door.
18 people were found to be living in the property. Investigations were carried out in February last year by police, fire services and the council, and a prohibition order was issued.
Ruth Bala, prosecuting for Boston Borough Council, alleged that Turner had disputed he was running a HMO, instead claiming that it was a hotel where his guests were not living as tenants.
She said: “There 18 occupants at the time of inspection. In interview Mr Turner said when he took over the property there were sitting tenants and his intention was to convert it into a hotel. He said there many eastern Europeans that came to stay for a month and that is how it all started. There was a lack of serviceable power sockets in rooms and extension leads were used along hallways. The washing machine was in a dangerous state and the cooker was dirty and in disrepair. Tenants had individual cooking equipment in their rooms.’
Graham Almack, a fire safety officer, added: ‘Extension leads were plugged into main sockets leading to rooms used as power supply. There was no door on the kitchen. The fire alarms did not work and it is my understanding the fire exit door blocked by the freezer chest was screwed shut. Some residents said their equipment kept tripping so the power supply was overloaded. I was satisfied there was a serious and imminent risk of fire and the prohibition notice was served.’
Turner pleaded not guilty to all charges at a previous hearing.