A Birmingham landlord has been sent to prison for 19 months and ordered to pay £13,820 costs over a catalogue of safety breaches at a four-storey property he owned in Edgbaston.
Cyrus Bassiri was described as a “greedy and cynical” landlord who put “profit before the safety of tenants” by Judge Mary Stacey at Birmingham Crown Court.
The court heard two fire alarms did not work, an escape route was blocked by a washing machine and display cabinet, emergency lighting was incorrectly fitted and a fire door was damaged.
Judge Mary Stacey said Bassiri responded to firefighters’ concerns by being “aggressive and bullying”.
She told him: “You have been greedy, you have been cynical and you have been exploitative of the occupants of this property in your control.
“Having failed to address the matters raised by the fire brigade you responded to their attempts to get you to comply with your legal obligations by being aggressive, by bullying behaviour, by threatening to take them to court and expose them to the press.”
The 59-year-old had previously admitted three charges of failing to take general fire precautions and two of failing to comply with an enforcement notice.
Mark Jackson, prosecuting, said Bassiri was handed a six-month suspended sentence for fire safety breaches at an address in Slade Road, Erdington, in April 2012. He said officers found a string of problems at the Hagley Road premises in 2010. And a number of new safety breaches were identified after a complaint from a member of the public in March 2013.
Jackson said Bassiri failed to act on repeated improvement demands over the next six months and conditions deteriorated.
Mohammed Afzal, defending, said Bassiri had incorrectly believed he was the victim of a strategy to force him out of the property and that “there were only three tenants”.
He said: “He was distracted by a business dispute and was under severe pressure.”