A Salford landlord who repeatedly rented out an unsafe house has been fined £20,000 by magistrates.
Salford City Council housing officials found that fire doors were not up to standard and that the fire alarm and detection systems and escape routes were still unsafe three years after the owner was instructed to do the job.
Despite an emergency order prohibiting the landlord, Mr Demetirous Georgiou, from renting out the property until it was secured, housing standards determined that each flat had been rented out.
Mr Georgiou of George Street South, Salford and Woodlands Avenue, Whitefield, was convicted of two offences: failing to comply with an improvement notice and violating an emergency ban.
He failed to show up to the Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court and the case was proven in his absence on Tuesday 28 June. In addition to the fine, magistrates ordered him to pay £4,700 in costs and £181 victim allowance.
The court heard that the three-storey building at George Street South, Salford had been converted into five self-contained one-bedroom apartments, each with a kitchen and bathroom, and another ground floor apartment without a bathroom. The basement was also converted into a separate apartment with its own entrance.
The property was added to a list of proactive inspections and in May 2016 a housing standards officer from Salford City Council visited. She was concerned about a lack of fire detection equipment in one of the flats and was given a warrant to gain access to all of the flats. the apartments.
That inspection showed that the fire detection and protection were insufficient and that the gas and electricity meters had been bypassed. British Gas and Electricity North West removed both meters, leaving the entire building without power for cooking, hot water and lighting.
Mr Georgiou was given an emergency ban preventing him from renting out the flats until electricity was restored and a report was filed to show it was safe. He was also commissioned to bring the fire alarm system and fire doors up to standard.
A deferred notice of improvement was also served on the work to be done once the emergency work was completed. This required Mr Georgiou to provide heating, lighting and hot water in the property for safety reasons, relocate the gas and electricity meters to a more suitable location and repair the handrail and balustrade on the first floor landing.
The property was checked in August 2016. Mr Georgiou had legitimately restored the electricity supply and lived in the basement. The rest of the house was empty, but the gas supply had not been restored.
Another audit in March 2017 revealed that Mr Georgiou had re-let the flats without carrying out the required work. The new electricity meter had been used to set up private meters for the flats. All meters were removed and the tenants were relocated.
The property has been checked and re-inspected in December 2019. All the flats had recently been re-let, but fire safety work had not been carried out and none of the work required in the improvement note had been completed.
Every fire door or door frame was damaged, leaving large holes or poorly maintained. Escape routes were obstructed by a refrigerator, chair, paint cans and a cardboard box and the fire control panel malfunctioned in two zones. The electricity meter was now legitimate, but Mr Georgiou had not provided the required safety certification. Tenants were not aware of the emergency ban.
Mr Georgiou was twice invited for an interview in January 2020 to explain the violation of the emergency order, but he did not show up.
Speaking after the matter, Deputy Mayor and Chief Housing Officer, Councilor Tracey Kelly said the council will continue to monitor the property and will not hesitate to take further action if it is re-let without work being completed.
“Fire protection systems are there to protect tenants’ lives. Landlords can’t ignore that and put people at risk,” she said.