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Landlords and managing agents of houses in multiple occupation (HMO) could face unlimited fines under new measures to be included in the Building Safety Bill, likely to come into force in 2022.

As part of the reforms resulting from the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the measures will amend the Fire Safety Order to:

The unlimited fines relate to the offence of obstructing or impersonating fire inspectors.

The measures form part of the Government’s response to the Fire Safety Consultation that ran from July to October 2020.

What Is the Fire Safety Consultation (the Consultation)?

The British Government is determined that the fire which consumed Grenfell Tower and cost 72 people their lives never happens again.  This will be achieved by reforming building and fire safety laws.

The Consultation paper proposed to:

The Government’s response to the Consultation stated that in general, its proposals for improvement received a positive response, especially in relation to strengthening the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) and improving overall regulatory compliance.  The response document also stated that a:

“….recurring theme throughout many of the responses was the need to consider other risk factors in addition to a building’s height in order to determine the extent of fire safety measures necessary to mitigate them. This point was particularly emphasised in relation to higher risk workplaces.”

Have there been any recent prosecutions against landlords for breaching fire safety regulations?

There have been several recent incidents of landlords being prosecuted for fire safety offences, including:

Final words

Local and central authorities are increasing their enforcement of landlord fire safety breaches.  The new measures to be included in the Fire Safety Bill will add to fire safety compliance requirements applicable to landlords and managers of HMOs. If you are being investigated for suspected fire safety compliance breaches, it is imperative that you contact a criminal defence lawyer or barrister immediately to ensure the best interests of you and/or your company are protected.Tanveer Qureshi specialises in white-collar crime and regulatory investigations and prosecutions.  If you require legal representation, please contact Tanveer directly at tqureshi@4-5.co.uk or via his chambers, 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square. for more about Tanveer or to subscribe to his newsletters, please go to www.tqlegal.co.uk 

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