A rogue landlord who left residents living in a dangerous and illegal hostel in Swanley, has been handed two suspended custodial sentences, 300 hours unpaid work, and must pay £8,000 costs.
After three years of serving prohibition notices and bringing the case through the courts, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) together with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), has brought Mustafa Kemal Mustafa, of Briar Lane, West Wickham Bromley, to justice.
Mustafa ignored fire service notices which prohibited the use of a first floor kitchen and residential accommodation for living or sleeping, at a property in Sycamore Drive, Swanley. Following an investigation, significant defects within the building’s fire detection system were also identified.
He was sentenced on Friday, 4 September, at Croydon Crown Court. He pleaded guilty to KFRS related offences* at the same court on 24 September 2019, after which the Judge postponed sentencing pending the HSE related prosecution. He pleaded guilty to HSE related offences* on 21 February 2020, at Maidstone Crown Court.
Mustafa was sentenced to an 11 month custodial sentence, suspended for two years for KFRS related offences. This is to run concurrently with the sentence for HSE related offences, which was a 13 month custodial sentence, suspended for two years.
In addition, he must serve 300 hours unpaid community service over 15 months, is disqualified from being a company director, and must pay £3,000 costs to KFRS and £5,000 costs to the HSE.
'Where necessary we will take action'
Mark Woodward, KFRS’ Group Manager for Building Safety, said: “The outcome of this case sends out a very clear message to those responsible for residential properties - they must make sure that the fire safety measures in their buildings meet minimum standards and are kept in good working order so people’s lives are not put at risk.
“Kent Fire and Rescue Service is committed to ensuring that all buildings in the county are safe, and where necessary we will take action and prosecute those who not only fail to provide adequate fire safety arrangements, but who then go on to deliberately ignore notices we serve to minimise risks until they can be remedied.”
HSE Inspector Joanne Williams said: “HSE is dedicated to ensuring that business owners and landlords operate within the law and provide safe accommodation for tenants and a safe place to work for employees. We do not tolerate disregard for health and safety and consider the non-compliance of HSE enforcement notices as a serious offence.
“In this case Mr Mustafa chose to flagrantly ignore the support, guidance and warnings from HSE to assist his compliance with the law and continued placing people at serious risk of injury or even death.”
Inspector Williams added: “Wherever possible we will continue to work with companies to improve health and safety. However, we will not hesitate to take enforcement action where necessary and prosecute individuals and businesses who ignore warnings and the law.”
- 2 x Failure to comply with a prohibition notice which prohibited the use of a kitchen on the first floor for cooking or any purpose other than the carrying out of remedial works at a premises on land adjoining the Convent of Mercy, Sycamore Drive, Swanley, Kent BR8 7AY
- Failure to comply with a prohibition notice which prohibited the use of first floor residential accommodation and common areas for sleeping, living accommodation or any other purpose than the carrying out of remedial work at a premises on land adjoining the Convent of Mercy, Sycamore Drive, Swanley, Kent BR8 7AY.
- Non-compliance of notices breaching Section 21 and 22 of Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- Breaching Section 4(2) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
- Breaching Section 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005