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A LANDLORD who allowed his tenants to live in a flat without even basic fire safety precautions for three years has been sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for two years.
Javed Waraich, 53, of Lloyd Street South, Manchester was sentenced at a hearing at Manchester Crown Court today, June 26, 2015.
He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £18,000 prosecution costs within 12 months.
The court heard how officers from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) first visited Mr Wariach’s property on Wilmslow Road, Fallowfield, in 2011.
Officers found there was no working smoke alarm, bedrooms without fire doors, a locked escape route, no fire extinguishers and no emergency lighting.
Mr Wariach pleaded guilty to these breaches and was fined £9,259 during a hearing in Manchester Magistrates Court on November 7, 2012.
But even after being prosecuted Mr Wariach failed to carry out the work necessary to make his property safe to live in – to date this work has not been completed.
Sentencing Mr Waraich, Recorder Anthony Cross QC told him he was a “stranger to the truth”.
He added: “You were warned and warned again, first by the prosecution and then with visits from fire officers.
“You have repeatedly failed to rectify these breaches. You have not learnt your lesson and a sentence of prison is needed to protect the public.”
Recorder Cross QC commended “the attitude, endeavour and commitment” of Watch Manager Simon Whittaker, who has spent 216 hours trying to help Mr Waraich comply with fire safety regulations.
The court also heard how Mr Waraich requested the services of fire risk assessor, Saira Hussain, to complete risk assessment of his property.
The fire risk assessment completed by Ms Hussain was so inadequate she was prosecuted by GMFRS.
Ms Hussain, 27, of Halifax Street, Brierfield, Lancashire, was sentenced to a community order with 140 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £1385 prosecution costs after pleading guilty to failing to make a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment.
Recorder Cross QC told her: “You were a professional offering a service and you put profit before safety.
“You have lost you professional reputation and you have lost your good character. Your risk assessment was wholly ineffective and deficient.
“If people had died you would have found yourself in the dock charged with manslaughter.”
Chair of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor David Acton, said: “We welcome these sentences, which reflect the seriousness of Mr Waraich’s and Ms Hussain’s actions.
“Prosecutions like this are our last resort - our officers have spent hundreds of hours trying help Mr Waraich comply with fire safety regulations.
“He ignored our advice, he ignored our offers of help, he even ignored the magistrates who fined him and now he has been handed a 12 month prison sentence.
“If you are a landlord or a business owner and would like our help to comply with fire safety regulations please call us on 0800 555 815 – we will do our utmost to help you.”