Hastings landlord fined thousands of pounds after fire safety breaches


East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is welcoming the prosecution of a landlord, who will now have to pay nearly £23,000 in fines and costs after fire safety breaches.

Thomas Wallace from Breadsell Farm, Breadsell Lane, appeared in court after the service worked with Hastings Borough Council to bring a case against him.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service visited a property on Charles Road in St Leonards on January 5, 2017, after being called in by Sussex Police concerned about fire safety.

The property is an end-of-terrace building comprising of flats situated over ground and four upper floors with a separate lower ground floor.

The fire safety inspector found a number of serious problems, including a storage room containing a petrol grass strimmer, petrol can, dishwasher and other general items. These all could have posed a risk if there was a fire, causing the entrance hall and single stair to flats above to become impassable.

Fire extinguishers provided in the commonways had not been tested since 2002 and there was no fire alarm or emergency lighting installed.

This August, Mr Wallace pleaded guilty to 38 charges and was given an overall fine of £19,000, plus costs of £3,564.96 and a Victim Surcharge of £170, giving a total of £22,734.96.

Mark Andrews, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said: “The issues in this property were so serious we believed that the lives of those living there were in danger if there was a fire.

“It is simply not acceptable. Landlords, owners and managers must do more to ensure that the properties they are responsible for are safe, and ensure information on fire safety is passed on to residents so they know what to do in case of an emergency.”