A landlord in Huddersfield has been jailed for 12 months in July 2018 in a trail that took 2 weeks.
Two boys aged three and two, sadly died in a rented house fire, which was started by a tv in the boy’s bedroom. Due to no smoke alarms being fitted at the property, they were not alerted in time to save the boys.
In October 2015, it became a legal requirement for all rented properties to be fitted with working smoke alarms, one on each floor along with a CO alarm. These must be checked on a regular basis.
The landlord, Kamal Bains, was originally being charged with manslaughter, however, this was dropped, and he pleaded guilty to Health and Safety violations.
Dave Walton, deputy chief fire officer for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This was a truly devastating fire in which two young boys tragically lost their lives. Had there been working smoke alarms in this property the outcome could have been very different and these brothers could have had a future to look forward to.”
After hearing the evidence, the judge told him ‘Your failure to fit smoke alarms was a significant cause of the children’s death’ He also noted that there were no fire alarms in the house, nor had there been for a year, and he had ‘no effective system for monitoring the presence or absence of smoke alarms’
This is very sad. Self-managing landlords must ensure they are abiding by the recent 150 legislation changes, the smoke alarm is just one of them. This landlord was negligent of not providing one. If he had provided one, then as a landlord, regular property checks are vital and must also include checking the smoke alarm is working. This must be documented as proof. The tenant is responsible for changing the batteries whilst in occupation, however, the case does touch on the landlord not having a system in place for regular checks.
This will fuel the need for private landlords to not only be licensed but to also be educated by way of an exam to qualify for a license! Or have your property managed through a reputable agent.
Have a good week!
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