Fire-danger landlord is convicted

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AN AMATEUR landlord who endangered the lives of his tenants by flouting fire safety laws has been sentenced.

Laszlo Banky, 51, of Castle Road, breached eight fire regulations at his four storey building in North Marine Road.

He also did not notify Scarborough Borough Council that he was running the guest house, or obtain the appropriate licence.

The building was occupied by Banky himself and eight tenants, including a family with three children between the ages of eight and 14.

On March 1 last year, an anonymous phone call was made to Scarborough Council, expressing concerns over fire safety at the building.

When inspectors visited the property, the building was shut down and tenants were immediately rehoused by the local authority.

Two days later, in an inspection by fire safety officers, several breaches were discovered.

Escape routes were obstructed, some doors were not fire resistant while the fire resistant glazing on other doors was broken.

Fire detection equipment at the building was also described as inadequate.

When Banky was interviewed by police on March 15, he accepted that he had not undertaken any fire risk assessment.

He also accepted that he had not sought a licence for the premises.

Recorder Deborah Sherwin told the hearing at York Crown Court, sitting at Harrogate Magistrates’ Court, that she had been “horrified” by the dangers caused.

Adam Birkby, representing Banky, said: “This was not a landlord delivering slum accommodation. He was an amateur who did not understand the regime that is there to protect tenants.”

He added that Banky has since sold the guesthouse at a heavy loss and is considering declaring himself bankrupt.

Recorder Sherwin sentenced Banky to a 12 month community order and told him to complete 100 hours of community service.

She added: “I accept your failings were borne out of ignorance, but if people are going to be landlords, it is their responsibility to follow regulations.

“Looking at the photographs of the building the potential for danger was only too obvious.”