Arundel landlord fined after tenant rescued from fire

An Arundel landlord has been fined after one of his tenants had to be rescued from a fire because the alarm system did not work.

According to West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, landlords have a legal duty to maintain a working fire alarm system to ensure it offers the earliest warning when a fire breaks out.

In the first of two prosecutions held at Crawley Magistrates Court on Thursday, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service successfully brought a prosecution against Alan Poate, 81, of Maxwell Road, Arundel, after he pleaded guilty to seven charges of breaching the Fire Safety Order 2005.

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Poate was the landlord of a home of multiple occupancy (HMO) in Littlehampton that was involved in a fire in June 2019, the fire service said.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service

One of the residents had to be rescued from a ground floor room by firefighters from Littlehampton Fire Station after the fire broke out.

It was subsequently found that there was no working fire alarm system in the property along with numerous other fire safety breaches throughout the building, and no Fire Risk Assessment had been conducted to address the hazards and risks within the property.

On Thursday he was sentenced and fined £507, along with a victim surcharge of £51 and ordered to pay prosecutions costs of £1923.

Andy Parsons, WSFRS’s Fire Safety Enforcement Manager, said: “We are fully committed to keeping the communities of West Sussex safe. Inadequate fire safety measures in properties, be that businesses or HMOs are simply not acceptable. We expect landlords to put the safety of their tenants first.

“We will continue to work towards ensuring that both businesses and landlords keep their properties in good condition and adhere to fire safety regulations.

“Evidence of failing the public and residents’ safety in this way will lead to prosecutions.”