A London landlord who rented out bedsits above a car workshop has been ordered to pay £25,000 in fines and costs for breaking fire safety laws.

The prosecution marks a first for the London Fire Brigade who successfully argued for £5,000 of the ill-gotten gains he received in rent to be confiscated.

Irshad Ibrahim pleaded guilty to 10 offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire safety) Order 2005 and was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court earlier this month.

London Fire Brigade says thLFBe case highlights the increasing problem and fire risk of unsuitable buildings being rented out as sleeping accommodation in the capital. Properties such as disused pubs, so-called ‘beds in sheds,’ garages or industrial units are all potentially lethal fire traps as it is inevitable that people living in them will rely on far riskier ways of heating, cooking and lighting.

Serve as a stark warning to landlords

Nick Coombe from London Fire Brigade’s Fire Safety Regulation Management Team, said: “This verdict should serve as a stark warning to landlords who rent out unsafe, unsuitable living conditions to some of the capital’s most vulnerable people. Landlords have a clear responsibility under fire safety laws to ensure that people living and working in their premises are safe from the risk of fire.

If we find people are ignoring these responsibilities we won’t hesitate to prosecute. The sentence handed down in this case shows that the courts take these matters just as seriously as we do.”

During the fire safety inspection, the Brigade identified a number of serious fire safety concerns and issued a prohibition notice preventing the building’s upper floor from being used for sleeping and evacuated the residents.

Concerns raised by fire safety inspectors included wholly inadequate fire separation of the bedsits and only one single escape route from the commercial premises. There was also no fire risk assessment, no fire safety arrangements between the commercial and residential parts and no emergency lighting.