Former fireman put tenants’ lives at risk by renting out flats that were fire hazards

An ex-fireman went from saving lives to putting them at risk – after renting out flats that were fire hazards.

Adrian Webb gave up his job as a firefighter 12 years ago after starting his own property business with wife Lynn.

But the pair, who live in a plush four-storey home on Mill Lane, Rainhill, were found to have been renting out three flats at a converted house on Rice Lane, Walton last year that had no fire alarms or fire doors, with key-operated locks to exit doors.

Liverpool council today said the couple had been putting their tenants’ lives at risk in a “flagrant” breach of safety regulations after ignoring prohibition orders designed to make their properties safe.

A hearing at Liverpool magistrates’ court heard that council environment health officers had visited the house, which had been converted to three self-contained flats, in July last year.

As well as finding they had no fire alarms or fire doors, the officers also found rooms riddled with damp, a lack of handrails to staircases, no adequate heating and a collapsed ceiling due to a water leak that had gone unattended by the landlords.

The council said the kitchens were poorly laid out and unsafe, with electric cables trailing across the floor and a chest of drawers was being used as a kitchen worktop.

Shocking photographs released by the council show the state the flats were in when officers first inspected.

Prohibition orders, which came into force in July 2014, were then made on the property, banning anyone from living the problems were fixed.

But a few months later, in December last year, council officers became aware that despite the orders, the property was occupied.

They re-inspected and found that people were living in each of the three flats and that work they had ordered had not been completed – with the property merely having been tidied up and redecorated.

Liverpool city council said there were still no fire precautions or adequate heating and the kitchens were the same.

Inspection reports had also not been provided to the council, as required by the orders, to demonstrate that electrical installations were safe.

Adrian, 51, and Lynn Joyce Webb, 49, were convicted in their absence at Liverpool magistrates’ court on July 16 on four counts each of failing to comply with prohibition orders made by the city council’s environmental health officers.

They were each fined £8,000 for the offences and were both ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge and the council’s costs of £1,326.

According to Mr Webb’s Linked In profile, he worked at Merseyside fire service for 17 years from 1986 to 2013.

In 2005, Mr Webb featured in a Liverpool Daily Post story about giving up his job as a fireman to start his own property business, which detailed how at the time he had a portfolio of homes across Liverpool and St Helens, half renovated and rented out and the other half modernised and sold on.

Cllr Frank Hont, cabinet member for housing, said: “This was a flagrant breach of safety regulations which put tenants’ lives at risk and the fines imposed in this case show the court has taken a very serious view of it.

“People have a right to live in safe and well-maintained property and we will have no hesitation in taking action against landlords who endanger people’s safety.”

The ECHO has approached Mr Webb for a comment.

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