Landlord fined for fire safety breaches after blaze

A landlord has been fined £40,000 for severe fire safety breaches after a blaze devastated flats in the Mossley Hill area of Liverpool, reports The Liverpool Echo.

John Gregson appeared before Liverpool Crown Court after a fire caused by a faulty television in January 2015 destroyed furniture and fixtures at several flats owned by the landlord. It was subsequently revealed that Mr Gregson had not even installed a fire alarm. Furthermore, the apartments were located above a restaurant, so they were deemed to be “high risk” properties.

Landlord’s insurance is a requirement of buy-to-let houses, holiday cottages, and other commercial premises. Additionally, it is a misconception that a standard household buildings and content insurance policy will cover the obligations of a landlord renting to tenants. However, this will not cover you in the event of a tenant being injured. Landlord’s insurance will cover you for a wide range of additional circumstances, including property owners’ liability, damage to property and subsistence cover.

Firefighters attending the blaze in Mossley Hill had to rescue one man from a first-floor window while a pensioner had to be guided out of the building after she injured her knee while trying to exit the burning apartments.

In court, Mr Gregson pleaded guilty to five separate fire safety breaches regarding adequate fire safety separation, fire risk assessment, working smoke alarms, fire-resistant doors and emergency exits with emergency lighting. None of these standard landlord requirements had been carried out.

Mr Gregson was subsequently fined £40,000 by Liverpool Crown Court and told to pay prosecution costs of £6,000.

During the hearing, Simon Medland QC, said: “You have provided a comfortable and well-loved home for tenants over the last 30 years.

“Behind that façade is the undeniable fact there were gross breaches of the necessary fire regulations required. There was not even a fire alarm.

“It was a matter of blessing and chance that nobody was gravely injured or even killed.”