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Landlord Guilty of Offenses Against Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Allah Ditta, a Landlord of 15 Harriet Street, Normanton, Derby has been sentenced to 8 months in prison suspended for 18 months for three breaches to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.  In addition to his suspended sentence, Mr Ditta was also sentenced to observe an electronic curfew which requires him to remain at home between 8pm and 7am for the next six months. 

Mr Ditta, who pleaded guilty to the three fire safety breaches at a previous court hearing, was sentenced at Derby Crown Court on Friday 16 April 2021. Ordinarily it is the owner of a property who is responsible for fire safety in residential properties let to tenants, but on this occasion the owner gave Mr Ditta full control.   

The fire safety breaches were discovered when a fire safety audit was carried out following a fatal fire.  On the 9 March 2018 Firefighters responded to a fire at the Harriet Street property where sadly they discovered one male tenant, Mr Kulwinder Singh, deceased in the ground floor front bedroom. Two other tenants had been able to escape the fire by passing through a neighbour’s house to get to safety. A fire investigation into the cause of the fire discovered the electrical supply had been bypassed, with the fire being caused by an electric heater in Mr Singh’s room. 

The subsequent fire safety audit identified the premises were being used as a house in multiple occupancy, the common areas being subject to the Fire Safety Order 2005. Deficiencies discovered during the audit included; the absence of any means of fire detection, an unsuitable lock on the front door, bedroom doors were not self-closing, fire resisting or fitted with smoke seals and general fire precautions were poor. Inspectors were unable to find any evidence of a fire risk assessment for the property.  

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service, Group Manager Lee Smith said: ‘Providers of sleeping accommodation including flats, bedsits and houses in multiple accommodation must accept that they have a legal and moral responsibility to protect their tenants, ensuring the accommodation they provide has a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment in place and that it is reviewed regularly.  They should also ensure the measures provided for safety including fire doors, fire alarms and smoke detectors are maintained to a suitable standard, and that escape routes must not be allowed to be used as storage or places for waste disposal. Sadly on this occasion there were a number of serious breaches found, including the lack of fire detection which could have given early warning of the fire to all of the occupants, giving Mr Singh the chance to escape along with the other tenants.’

Premises known to provide sleeping accommodation are regularly inspected for fire safety compliance by Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service, the vast majority of these are well managed, maintained and compliant with current fire safety regulations.

Group Manager Smith went on to say: ‘Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service will advise and give support to both local and national businesses in respect of fire safety and are always willing to help make sure they comply with Fire Safety Legislation. However, the public should continue to be reassured that the Fire and Rescue Authority will consider formal legal action against anyone found to be in breach of Fire Safety regulations and particularly where they fail to comply with any statutory notices issued.’

For more information regarding business safety visit our business safety page.