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Landlord Fails to Understand Fire Safety Responsibilities

bar fire
A pub landlord has been found guilty of 8 fire safety offences.

Following a change in ownership of a pub in Eccles, a landlord failed to comprehend that his responsibilities for fire safety would change with the signing of a new lease.

Misunderstanding his responsibilities would eventually lead Robert Ashton, former landlord of the Duke of York pub in Eccles, to plead guilty to no less than 8 fire safety offences. Mr Ashton had been landlord of the pub in question for 2 years when the owner of the establishment sold it on. Mr Ashton was given the opportunity to stay on as landlord and therefore had to sign a new lease for his tenure. However, the new lease was different in one important aspect – fire safety responsibilities for the Duke of York would pass to Mr Ashton upon signing.

Following an inspection by Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service in August 2011, at which point Mr Ashton had been responsible for the pub’s fire safety measures for around 3 years, 8 fire offences were discovered. These included:

  • failure to make a sufficient fire risk assessment of the property
  • failure to keep escape routes clear of obstacles
  • failure to make escape routes fire resistant
  • failure to ensure escape routes and fire exits lead directly to a place of safety
  • failure to provide a suitable fire alarm system
  • failure to provide suitable emergency lighting
  • failure to provide sufficient fire fighting equipment
  • failure to comply with a prohibition notice

Taking into account that the defendant’s personal finances were limited and that this was a case of unintentional poor fire safety (as Mr Ashton was not seeking to make a profit by ignoring his duties, he simply had not comprehended what his responsibilities entailed) magistrates at Manchester City Magistrates court issued My Ashton with an 18-month conditional discharge and an order to pay just £500 court costs.

As with any legally binding document, it is important to read through lease renewals fully as the wording and contents could have changed significantly. Fire safety is an incredibly important issue, especially in buildings where the public convene such as pubs, and the ramifications can be life-changing if it is ignored – especially if someone is harmed or killed as a result.

On the Discount Fire Supplies website you’ll find a range of fire safety equipment including fire alarm systems and emergency lighting.

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