A private landlord who failed to carry out essential safety work has been fined for ignoring an Emergency Prohibition Order.
Mohammed Deryo, of Manchester, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with an Emergency Prohibition Order served under section 43 of the Housing Act 2004 when he appeared at Manchester and Salford magistrates court.
He was fined £4,000, ordered to pay costs of £3,562 and a victim surcharge of £190.
The court heard that Deryo bought a one-bedroom 11th floor flat in Salford over 10 years ago and it was leased to a tenant.
Housing association Salix Homes owns and manages other properties in the 14-storey block, which have all undergone a programme of safety enhancement work following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017.
A significant programme of safety enhancement work was carried out, which included the installation of sprinklers and a new state-of-the art fire alarm system but Salix Homes staff could not get access to Deryo’s flat.
As the flat is privately owned, Salix Homes reported it to Salford council which has powers under the Housing Act 2004 to force landlords to act if required.
The council asked Deryo to allow installation of an alarm linked to the whole block system, which aimed to provide an early warning to all occupants in the block should a fire break out.
The alarm was successfully installed in January 2018 but the front door, which opened onto a communal hallway, was found to have gaps between the door and the frame and did not close properly.
If a fire had started in Deryo’s flat, the door would not hold back smoke and flames for the required 30 minutes to allow the occupant and other tenants to escape.
The landlord was asked to remedy this and was told that the council was considering serving an improvement notice requiring him to undertake the work within specified timescales. He did not respond and the notice was served on December 17 2018, giving him six weeks to comply.
Deryo failed to respond again and did not comply with the notice, so the council decided to use its powers under the Housing Act 2004 to carry out the work required and charge it back to the owner.
An electrician for Salix Homes then reported the wiring in the flat was over 30 years old, that fuses had been replaced with copper meaning they would not blow as required, and several extension leads were overloading the system.
The lighting was now not working and the tenant had no form of fixed heating.
The defects with the wiring, lighting, heating and front door were listed and sent to Deryo asking him to make contact with the council and arrange for urgent repairs.
He failed to do so and the council replaced the improvement notice with an emergency prohibition order. This meant the flat could not be lived in or rented out until the safety work was done.
The tenant moved out to stay with friends and Deryo had the flat rewired. He presented the council with an electrical installation certificate in May 2019 showing the work had been done and was safe.
However, although the tenant had moved back in, no heating had been installed and no work had been done to the front door by February 2020 which meant the emergency prohibition order had been breached.
Deryo was twice invited for interview to explain why this work had not been done but did not attend and did not respond to council letters. He told the court the correct type of door is now on order and will be fitted in early December.
A council spokeswoman says: “Mr Deryo was made fully aware of the importance and urgency of the repairs required not only to provide decent living standards for his tenant but also for the safety of the neighbours. He had ample time to fully refurbish the property.”
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