A landlord who ignored fire safety regulations has been jailed for eight months.
Haresh Rambhai Patel, who has a portfolio of property in Leicester reportedly worth £2.5m, ignored safety warnings and advice given two years ago about two adjoining properties in the Highfields area of the city.
The properties caught fire some 18 months ago and firefighters had to rescue three residents.
The Leicester Mercury reports that the judge at Leicester Crown Court this week told Patel that he had “failed in virtually every aspect of fire safety” at the properties and ”failed to prioritise your obligations as a landlord, whilst taking the rent.”
He added: “You’d been warned about fire safety by the council at these same properties and didn’t heed those warnings or take any measures to comply with fire safety regulations.”
The judge said other tenants later complained about lack of fire safety measures at another property Patel was renting out, adding that Patel had “learnt little from the Evington Street fire”.
Patel pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. There were no working smoke alarms or emergency lights, fire exits were blocked, there were combustible obstacles such as furniture in corridors, fire doors were missing, left open or jammed, and a fire extinguisher had not been inspected for 25 years.
Patel was fined £38,000 by magistrates earlier this year following a separate city council prosecution, for failing to have the necessary licences.
Now he has to pay an additional £13,704 prosecution costs.
Patel now says he has spent £36,000 on fire safety measures and fire safety certificates have been obtained.