Hefty fine for Norfolk man who flouted fire safety rules at HMO he claimed was Boston hotel

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A man from King’s Lynn has been fined almost £75,000 for flouting fire safety rules at an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Boston.

Paul Turner, 46, and from Manor Farm House, West Winch, was ordered to pay 74,601.93 in fines and costs for 13 offences, including five fire safety offences and eight housing offences, at the former Ship Inn on London Road in Boston.

The trial, which took place at Boston Magistrates’ Court in February 2017, included evidence from Boston Borough Council and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue officers who highlighted fire safety issues at the property, including:

  • Failing to review the fire risk assessment
  • Escape routes not adequately protected in case of fire
  • Locked fire exit
  • Blocked fire escape route
  • Dangerous and inadequate electrical installation
  • There were also a number of serious housing standards issues raised.

Fire and council officers found at least 18 occupants, including two very young children at the property when they visited on February 16, 2016.

Throughout the trial, Turner denied he was running an HMO, but said it was a hotel with paying guests.

He did not have a licence to operate an HMO and the premises were not of a suitable standard to operate as a hotel.

Dan Moss, prevention and protection manager at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue said: “Landlords have a responsibility to keep their tenants safe from fire and if they are ignoring those responsibilities and putting people at risk, we will not hesitate to prosecute.

“When officers visited the property in February, they found at least 18 people living there, with two very young children aged one and two – we needed to take immediate action to ensure their safety.

“The penalty imposed on Mr Turner is a clear reminder to landlords that the courts take safety as seriously as we do and the penalties for not doing are severe.”

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