East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is welcoming the prosecution of a landlord of property in Hastings.
At a court hearing on 14 August 2017, James De Courcy from Rye Lodge, Hilders Cliff, Rye and landlord of a property on Cornwallis Terrace, was found guilty of a total of eight breaches of the Housing Act 2004 and regulations governing the management of houses in multiple occupation.
The prosecution was brought by Hastings Borough Council and supported by the Service after it raised concerns about the mid-terrace property which contains three flats.
The Service had attended a serious fire on 21 August 2016 where the occupants of one the flats had to be led to safety because the fire alarm system had failed to alert them.
The Service was called at 15.51 and needed to use four breathing apparatus and two hose reel jets to tackle the fire.
Assistant Director of Safer Communities Mark Matthews said:
“This was a very serious incident which needed our crews to take immediate action to help save lives. We subsequently found problems with the fire alarm system and the emergency lighting too.”
He added: “It is so important to have the right fire safety measures in place. If you live in a flat and are concerned, please contact your landlord or managing agent to find out what they are doing to keep you safe. They should be keeping yours means of escape free from obstruction, and maintaining any fire fighting equipment and alarms to safeguard those residing within the building.”
Cllr Andy Batsford, Hastings Borough Council’s lead member for housing said: “These prosecutions are an excellent result and we hope that they act as a warning to those landlords and property managers who compromise the wellbeing and safety of their tenants”.
He added “we know that good landlords will agree that everyone has a right to a decent safe home and we have a duty to protect tenants from landlords that fall well short of the standards we expect so we will continue to seek out unlicensed properties and prosecute owners who breach legislation requirements.”
Advice for landlords
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service would like to remind landlords of the importance of finding out and following the law.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies to:
• Non-domestic premises
• all workplaces and commercial premises
• all premises open to the public
• the common areas of multi-occupied residential buildings
Read guidance for landlords and managers who manage a "House of Multiple Occupancy": https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/licensing-of-houses-in-multiple-occupation-in-england-a-guide-for-landlords-and-managers
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