St Albans and Hatfield companies fined over fire safety breaches
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The director of a St Albans firm is “aggrieved” at being fined thousands of pounds after admitting to breaking fire regulations.
Two companies managing rented properties in Hatfield have been ordered to pay more than £42,000 after admitting breaking fire regulations and other failures.
Taken to St Albans Magistrates’ Court by Welwyn Hatfield borough council, Odus Ltd of Bishops Square in Hatfield admitted 41 offences on four properties managed for private landlords, while XS Property Management Maintenance Ltd of Hatfield Road in St Albans owned up to a further five offences for one property.
The failures for Odus Ltd included locked and faulty fire doors, missing smoke seals, an empty fire extinguisher, a missing fire blanket and a broken alarm.
It was fined £17,600 and ordered to pay council costs of £17,424 in respect of multiple occupancy properties.
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XS Property Management, which was prosecuted over another property in Hatfield, was fined £4,300 and ordered to pay costs of £3,210 for problems such as a faulty fire door and a missing smoke seal.
Following prosecution, director Shain Hutchings said: “I feel aggrieved at the fine. These were very minor faults, and we were not given time to correct them. If I could have afforded to, I would have fought it.”
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Shaji Odushoti, a director of Odus Ltd, said the council had inspected the homes only two weeks after it had taken them over, and issued a summons while it was waiting for landlords’ approval for the necessary work.
However Cllr Mandy Perkins, cabinet member for housing, said: “We hugely value the contribution that good quality rented accommodation makes to the local housing market, but we hope this sends a clear signal to managing agents that they must comply with the law.”