Landlord fined after fatal fire at property

Posted 25/02/2016 by Macdonald Martin Ltd.

Categories: Uncategorised

A landlord has been fined £1,500 after the death of one of his tenants.

Andrew Tunstall, pleaded guilty to nine counts of breaching the housing act of 2004. He is in charge of the property, which contains nine self-contained flats where 49-year-old Stephen Billington died in March last year after a blaze in a first floor flat in the premise.

At the time of his death, the police ruled that there was no suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr Billington’s death and that the source of the fire was believed to be a faulty gas fire. However, on closer inspection by Bolton Council and the fire service it was concluded that the fire detection in the premise was no adequate as it had been switched off by previous tenants. In court it was heard that there was  no suggestion that Mr Tunstall had switched off the fire alarm himself, but the fact that he had failed to check the workings of the fire safety system and that this reflected a lack of management.

It is believed the system had been previously switched off by an earlier tenant in order to allow them to smoke in the property without an alarm sounding. The alarm does have a backup system in place which was powered by batteries, however this only lasted for a few hours until the batteries expired.

It wasn’t only the fire detection system that failings were found, Tunstall admitted to not getting a fire extinguisher serviced and not having a fire blanket in the flat. Other breaches of the Housing Act included not displaying his contact details in a prominent place in the house, not keeping the stairs of the property in working order and also not organising a gas inspection since December 2014.

If you’re worried your property may not comply to the Housing Act 2004, contact us today for advice on 0191 5237870 or email [email protected]

Emma Trafford