Estate agency facing £38,000 legal bill over fire safety failures

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An estate agency has been left with a £38,000 bill after taking more than four years to make safe homes they managed after a fatal fire.

Trainmerit Ltd, trading as Maltbys Estate Agents, have been fined £28,000 and ordered to pay court costs of more that £10,000 by Hastings Magistrates’ Court after being convicted of breaches of fire safety legislation.

Bosses at the firm, with head offices in Parkhurst Road in Bexhill, pleading guilty to a number of offences relating to 20/22 and 36 Sackville Road in Bexhill.

Following a fatal fire at 36 Sackville Road in May 23 2011, subsequent inspections found significant risks to the occupants at 36 and another property at 20/22 Sackville Road.

Problems identified included inadequate fire protection, separation of escape routes and a lack of fire alarms and emergency lighting.

During the fatal fire, these failings had caused one occupant to become trapped in the top floor flat and rely on the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to help her escape.

The court heard Maltbys had been aware of these significant risks for a considerable time prior to the fire but did not rectify them for four years until formal action was taken by the fire authorities.

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