A LANDLORD has been fined £20,000 after letting properties which did not meet fire safety requirements and exposing residents to a ‘serious risk of death’.

Kristian Johnstone, of Suffolk Road in Altrincham and director of Easylet Residential and Relocate NW Ltd, owns a property on Evelyn Street in Sankey Bridges and rents out properties on Goulden Street in Bewsey and Algernon Street in Fairfield.

The properties were functioning as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), as there were three or more tenants forming two or more households living in the properties and sharing basic amenities at a time.

The 28-year-old was convicted for offences relating to the fire safety requirements of the three properties under the HMO Management Regulations and also for failing to licence a HMO.

Johnstone pleaded guilty to 38 offences at Chester Magistrates’ Court on October 22. He was subsequently fined £20,000 and ordered to pay a £181 victim surcharge.

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Before sentencing, the judge said that a ‘significant number of people were exposed to a serious risk of death’.

The judge added that the offences showed a ‘complete failure to grapple with the regulatory regime’, and that there were multiple failings to provide safe accommodation for a large number of tenants.

In a separate case, David Cooper, aged above 70 and of Thorneycroft Drive in Fairfield and Howley, was letting out his home to three other tenants without meeting HMO regulations.

He was prosecuted for offences relating to fire safety, the production of appropriate gas and electrical safety documentation and the production of other documentation required by the council.

Cooper attended Warrington Magistrates’ Court on October 30 and pleaded not guilty to six offences. He was found guilty on all charges and fined £1,895.

Warrington Guardian:

Warrington Magistrates' Court

Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, cabinet member for housing, public health and wellbeing for Warrington Borough Council, has welcomed the convictions.

She said: “If you are letting out a property or room, you must abide by the regulations put in place to keep tenants safe, ensuring you research what is expected of you and your property as a registered landlord.

“You must meet and maintain the required safety measures in the property for the length of the tenancy or tenancies.

“In these cases, the council recognised that the properties posed a significant risk of danger to the tenants as regulations had not been followed by the landlords.

“We were satisfied that we were able to drive these cases to the point of two successful convictions and bring awareness to landlords of what measures must be taken to ensure the safety of their tenants.”

Landlords can find further information at warrington.gov.uk/landlords and tenants who have issues with their landlords can visit warrington.gov.uk/issues-your-landlord