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Landlord fined for ‘woefully inadequate’ precautions after fatal fire

Posted by Tracy Seward

30 March 2012

The landlord of a House in Multiple Occupation has had to pay £16,000 following a fire at one of his properties in which a tenant died.
Darius Valiulis of Neville Road, Cambridge pleaded guilty to three charges under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006 at Cambridge magistrates court and was found guilty of a further five charges after offering no defence to them on 13 March. He was fined a total of £10,000 plus £6,000 costs.

At the time of the fire on 29 April 2011, the house was occupied by seven individuals. The fire started in the rear first-floor bedroom, resulting in the death of the occupant of that room.

The fire precautions in the property were described by the fire service as “woefully inadequate”, consisting of a single smoke detector on the first-floor landing. There were no fire doors, and the doors to the bedrooms were key operated.

The ceiling of the room where the fire started was covered with polystyrene tiles.

Mr Valiulis was also convicted of providing false information regarding his responsibility for the management of the house.

“The tragic consequences of the neglect that led to this case should be a reminder to everyone that unsafe housing must not be ignored,” said Catherine Smart, executive councillor for housing.

“Tenants should report such neglect and not let it continue: their lives could depend on it. Landlords must provide a safe place to live if they wish to continue in business.”

Steve Elve, fire protection manager for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “This is an excellent result for everyone at the council and fire service who has worked hard gathering evidence and organising the case.

“We hope this will send a message to all landlords that they have legal responsibilities to keep their buildings safe, and they will be prosecuted for failing to meet these responsibilities. More importantly, adhering to the legislation will keep tenants safe.”

Source: Info4Fire.com

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