The London Fire Brigade has obtained a confiscation order for the first time, against a landlord who was also fined for breaches of fire safety laws.
Irshad Ibrahim pleaded guilty to ten offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire safety) Order 2005.
At a hearing at Kingston Crown Court last week, he was fined £12,000 as well as ordered to pay a £1,200 victim surcharge and £7,000 of the Brigade’s legal costs.
Ibrahim owned a single story industrial unit on Crusoe Road in Mitcham. He let five bedsits above the unit.
A joint investigation was carried out by the fire brigade, the police and the local authority on 31 May 2012.
The London Fire Brigade subsequently issued a prohibition notice preventing the building’s upper floor from being used for sleeping.
Inspectors had concerns about about the “wholly inadequate” fire separation of the bedsits and the fact that there was only one single escape route from the commercial premises.
They also found that there had been no fire risk assessment, no fire safety arrangements between the commercial and residential parts and no emergency lighting.
Nick Coombe, from London Fire Brigade’s Fire Safety Regulation Management Team, said: “This verdict should serve as a stark warning to landlords who rent out unsafe, unsuitable living conditions to some of the capital’s most vulnerable people. Landlords have a clear responsibility under fire safety laws to ensure that people living and working in their premises are safe from the risk of fire.
“If we find people are ignoring these responsibilities we won’t hesitate to prosecute and the sentence handed down in this case shows that the courts take these matters just as seriously as we do.”