London property management company fined for fire safety deficiencies

A London property management company has been fined in excess of £80,000 for serious fire safety deficiencies in an Islington block of flats.

London Fire Brigade inspectors made two visits to the five-storey building on Danbury Street in Islington, which consists of more than 40 self-contained flats. The building is managed by Eurolets (UK) Limited.

The inspectors found severe breaches of the Fire Safety Order, including a lack of fire extinguishers, a non-functioning fire alarm, combustible material in shared spaces, and holes in the walls. An Enforcement Notice was issued to Eurolets in 2016 following the outcome of a visit by the LFB, which was then sufficiently adhered to. However, at the visits this year, the inspectors found similar defects to the previous inspection.

Heard at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Eurolets was charged with the following ten offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, and they entered guilty pleas for each:

  • failure to take general fire precautions
  • failure to have a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment
  • failure to ensure appropriate fire arrangements
  • failure to ensure exit routes were clear and unlocked
  • failure to ensure appropriate fire safety measures are in place and conveyed to employees and residents
  • failure to maintain and ensure fire safety equipment
  • failure to provide employees with sufficient fire safety information
  • failure to provide adequate safety training
  • failure to ensure adequate structural compartmentation
  • a further charge in respect of combustible items in the second inspection

They were also ordered to pay a fine of £60,000, a victim surcharge of £170 and costs of £20,000.

Paul Jennings, assistant commissioner for fire safety, said: “The combined effect of the deficiencies was that if a fire had started, there was a risk of an uncontrolled spread of heat, and smoke and flames affecting the whole premises, coupled with the only means of escape being overcome with smoke.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this case, which is thanks to the hard work which is done every day by our fire safety inspectors. It should also serve as a warning to property managers that we will take action where people are not taking their responsibilities seriously.

“There’s no excuse for leaving people’s safety to chance, especially when information is so readily available to those with responsibility for safety in buildings to understand what their duties are and ensure they comply with the law.”