A woman who advertised a ‘deathtrap’ holiday home on Airbnb has been handed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months and told to pay nearly £6,000 in fines.

The property, belonging to a Jean Hendy, breached fire regulations with:

  • toxic tiles
  • no emergency lighting
  • the wrong locks
  • a fire extinguisher that hadn’t been tested in 15 years.
  • Hendy also failed to put batteries in the smoke alarms of the three-storey house, and didn’t take action when she was warned by council officers

Judge Ian Lawrie told her: “You have created the risk of a potential deathtrap if fire ever broke out.

“Whenever you rent out a property in whatever circumstances there is a clear obligation to ensure the fire safety of everyone. There is certainly a risk of cost-cutting at the expense of safety.”

The court heard that officers from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service inspected the property in August last year following a complaint from a member of the public.

Hendy occupied the ground floor and advertised the use of the upper floors on a number of recognised holiday hosting websites, offering sleeping accommodation for up to nine people.

Group Manager Paul Bray, business safety manager for Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, said after the case: “Anyone who has or is thinking of turning their home into a business providing sleeping accommodation has a duty to ensure the people staying on their premises will be kept safe.”

Source:  SHP Magazine August 2017