Student Accommodation

Student accommodation provider given heavy fine and suspended prison sentence for multiple fire-safety breaches.

A student accommodation provider has been handed a suspended prison sentence and almost £200,000 in fines and costs after multiple fire safety breaches.

Accommodation in Nottingham city centre operated by Nottingham Student Lettings Ltd lacked adequate means of escape, fire detection equipment or emergency lighting, Nottingham Crown Court heard. The operator could not provide a suitable fire-risk assessment and hadn’t provided staff with fire safety training.

During an inspection in 2013, fire protection officers from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue service found a void across four floors where a staircase should have been, capped-off smoke alarms, exposed electrical wiring and just one, inadequate means of escape: a staircase with an industrial laundry on one of its landings.

Nottingham Student Lettings Ltd was found to have breached fire regulations multiple times, despite having being granted an extended compliance notice period.

Judge Stuart Rafferty QC said that deaths would have been an “inevitability” if there had ever been a fire. “It could not be said within any degree of realism to have been a safe building,” he said. “It was far from it. This risk of death was not theoretical, it could well have occurred.”

Nottingham Student Lettings Limited and its sole director, Robert Singh, 52 pleaded guilty to five offences relating to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

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