A LANDLORD who put the lives of his tenants at risk by flouting
fire safety laws has been fined Â£12,000.
Sajid Mahmood, aged 27, of Uxbridge Street, Ashton, was ordered
to pay costs of Â£2,591 to Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue
Authority (GMFRA) and a Â£15 victim surcharge when he appeared
before Oldham Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, June 12.
At an earlier hearing, Mahmood - who owns Australian Wines in
Ashton Road Oldham - pleaded guilty to six offences under the
Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service's (GMFRS) Director of
Prevention and Protection services, Assistant Chief Fire Officer
Peter O'Reilly, said: "Despite the obvious risks in this building,
Mr Mahmood didn't take any steps to protect his tenants who were
paying him rent.
"We work hard at GMFRS to prevent fires and protect people and I
hope this prosecution sends a clear message that any landlord who
flouts fire safety regulations risks getting a criminal record and
a high fine."
Fire and council officers inspected the flat above the wine shop
in November 2011 and discovered a catalogue of failings that placed
the landlord's eight tenants at risk of serious injury or death in
the event of a fire.
There was nothing in place to stop a fire in the shop spreading
to the flats above and there was not even a proper fire alarm.
There was only one way out of the flats, which was not protected
from smoke - so a fire occurring anywhere in the building could
trap the tenants upstairs where the windows were barred.
Mahmood appeared in court on May 9 when Paul Darnborough,
prosecuting for GMFRA, said that the landlord had no idea what the
fire risks were, did not get a fire risk assessment and placed the
tenants "at risk of death or serious injury".
Samayra Ashraf, defending, told the court that her client had
been naÃ¯ve and had remedied the problems within two weeks.
Mahmood was cross-examined on the financial information he had
provided and admitted he had no idea how much rental income he had
received as it was all paid in cash but it could have been in the
region of Â£10,000.
Fining him Â£2,000 for each offence, Chair of the Bench Ian
Hargreaves told Mahmood: "These are very serious offences and had
there been a fire there could have been fatalities and you would
have faced far more serious charges."
Charges in full: