A prosecution brought by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has seen a landlord and his management company ordered to pay more than £90,000 in fines and legal costs over safety failings.
Captain Solutions and Mr Faraz Bucha were each found guilty of 27 charges at St Alban's Magistrates Court relating to the management of two properties in Hatfield, one of which is subject to ongoing proceedings.
In relation to one of the properties, eight charges related to fire safety offences - including inadequate fire alarms, lighting and fire doors - and blocking key escape routes. The property was also found to be in poor condition with neither Mr Bucha nor Captain Solutions carrying out necessary improvements as instructed by council officers, the local authority said.
Welwyn Hatfield said the court had “grave concerns that fire regulations were willfully and negligently ignored over a considerable period, despite being advised of this responsibility”.
Passing sentence, the court issued a fine of £1,500 for each charge, resulting in a total fine for both properties of £81,000 and legal costs of £9,538.
The defendant failed to attend the court and the case was heard in his absence.
Simone Russell, Corporate Director at Welwyn Hatfield, said: “The court served a record fine for our borough, rightly reflecting the seriousness of Mr Bucha's negligence in putting people's lives at risk.
“The vast majority of landlords work together with us to resolve issues, but Mr Bucha ignored our advice and warnings, giving us no other choice but to launch formal proceedings.”