Shared house was firebomb waiting to explode

Shared house was firebomb waiting to explode

15:37 PM, 14th July 2011, About 13 years ago

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Electrical wiring in a shared house was so dangerous the property was a firebomb waiting to go off, a court heard.

Faulty wiring was overheating and could have ignited at any time – but the house in multiple occupation (HMO) had fire safety precautions in place.

Owners Athena and John Stylianou, of Golders Green, Barnet, pleaded guilty at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court to numerous offences involving failing to licence and manage two HMOs they owned and managed in North London.

They were ordered to pay £59,100 in fines and costs.

A recent appeal to Blackfriars Crown Court to cut the fines was dismissed as “spurious” and the judge cut the time to pay by half to three months.

The judge heard that the couple obstructed the Camden Council investigation in to complaints by tenants and a handwriting expert had to prove who signed receipts for rent.

The council has a rent recovery order from a property tribunal for repayment of £9305 housing benefits paid by the council while the properties were unlicensed.

Dirty and unsafe

Landlord Darren Harrison, of Staffordshire Lettings, was fined £4,965 and ordered to pay £2,415 costs by magistrates at Burton-on-Trent after breaching HMO regulations relating to a property in Tamworth.

The court was told council officers inspected the property and found the smoke alarm system was not working, no gas and electrical safety certificates were available, the kitchen, bathroom and shower were poorly maintained and unhygienic, and light fittings did not work.

No hot water for four months

Landlord Teresa Kirk, 44, left residents without hot water for four months in a rented property.

She failed to attend Runcorn Magistrates Court to answer a charge of breaching an abatement notice served under the Environmental Protection Act and was fined £525 and ordered to pay £195 costs.

Blaze HMO had no smoke detectors

A landlord who ignored fire safety rules has to pay £17,165 in fines and costs after tenants fled a blaze at a shared house in Walsall.

A fire started in a second floor flat in the house at Birmingham Road, Walsall, and tenants were alerted by firemen because the house had no fire alarm or smoke detectors.

No one was hurt in the fire.

At Wolverhampton Crown Court, landlord Pervez Khan admitted five charges of breaching fire regulations at the HMO.

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