Cheshire landlords fined for serious fire safety breaches
Two Cheshire East landlords have been fined £82,500 and ordered to pay £44,000 in court costs after pleading guilty to serious breaches of fire safety legislation.
Brothers Colin Silvester and Brian Silvester owned a property on Shavington Road in Crewe and had converted it into eight bedsits. The pair were sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Tuesday, October 23 after pleading guilty to 11 counts of breaching the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and one count of failing to register the property as a House of Multiple Occupation.
Head of Community Fire Safety Keith Brooks said: "We are pleased with the result. Our aim is always to work closely with landlords, giving them all the support and guidance they need to ensure the safety of their tenants. However, failure to comply with the law can, as this case has shown, result in a prosecution.”
The action was brought against Brian and Colin after a concerned tenant reported what he felt was a lack of fire safety in the property. A subsequent inspection by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service uncovered a catalogue of serious fire safety breaches. These included broken smoke alarms, no linked alarm system, escape routes blocked by combustible materials and fire extinguishers that had not been tested since the early 1990’s.
Added to this the property contained a number of factors that increased the risk of a fire breaking out such as a poor wiring and a flooded cellar.
One tenant had been so concerned for his own safety he installed a makeshift escape involving a rope and a hammer.
"This was one of the most serious breaches of fire safety regulations in living accommodation that we have ever dealt with,” added Keith. I would urge all landlords to take their fire safety responsibilities seriously to avoid possible court action. We are committed to a Cheshire without any fire deaths and so we will pursue any company or individuals who put the lives of others at risk.”
In summing up Judge Elgan Edwards described the state of the property as ‘disgraceful’ and an ‘accident waiting to happen’. He also praised the prosecution and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service for the quality of work in the case and the preparation.
Businesses who would like advice about fire protection and safety issues should visit or business safety section or get in touch with their local station.
Broken Smoke Alarm: One of the broken smoke alarms that would have failed to alert tenants if a fire had broken out.
Outside View of the property that had been turned into accommodation for a number of tenants. This is known as a House of Multiple Occupation.
Water Filled Cellar: The cellar of the property was filled with water. There were also wires hanging down which posed a fire risk.