London landlord narrowly avoids prison after breaching fire safety laws

A landlord with a property in Kentish Town, North West London, has narrowly avoided a prison sentence after he was found guilty of breaching fire safety laws.

Fire safety officers visited a disused pub, in which landlord Anthony O’Leary rented out rooms after concerns were raised about health and safety standards. During the January 2010 inspection, they found a number of worrying problems, such as poor escape facilities and a lack of fire detection systems. It was later found that the property was being used as sleeping accommodation, despite the fact that there were huge dangers involved with cooking, heating and lighting on the premises.

After being prosecuted by London Fire Brigade, Mr O’Leary was handed a suspended prison sentence. He was however ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid community service.

Commenting on the case and warning landlords of the importance of fire safety training and the dangers of using unsuitable buildings as accommodation, London Fire Brigade’s assistant commissioner Steve Turek said:

“The issue of unsuitable buildings being rented out as accommodation continues to be a concern for London Fire Brigade and this verdict sends out a clear message that if building owners ignore their responsibilities under fire safety law we will not hesitate to prosecute and they will face serious penalties,”