Landlord jailed for safety breach after fatal fire in flat 'unsuitable for human habitation'

Landlord jailed for safety breach after fatal fire in flat 'unsuitable for human habitation'

A LANDLORD has been jailed for breaching health and safety regulations after a fatal fire in an unofficially converted basement flat.

Philip Sheridan, 32, died of injuries suffered in a blaze at the property where he lived in Berkeley Grove, Harehills, Leeds.

At Leeds Crown Court today, landlord Humrazz Shahid was given an immediate 13-month prison term.

Shahid, 43, of Oakwood Lane, Leeds, had earlier admitted failing to discharge a duty owed under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

"The death of Philip Sheridan in these circumstances was an absolute tragedy, but one that was entirely avoidable had Shahid taken his responsibilities to ensure a safe living environment seriously," said Detective Superintendent Marc Bowes of West Yorkshire Police.


The fire broke out at the property on June 26, 2019 and although Mr Sheridan managed to escape, he sustained burns to the back of his head, upper torso, neck and arms.

After escaping, he collapsed on the pavement outside the address and was transferred to hospital.

Mr Sheridan remained there until his death on July 6, 2019 as a result of complications arising from severe smoke inhalation.

The court was told that, after the incident, both the fire service and local authority concluded that the converted cellar in a mid-terraced house was unsuitable for human habitation.

The unofficially converted basement flat had only had one entrance — an inward-opening door without a proper handle. which was partially blocked by the cooker where the fire started (Image: West Yorkshire Police)

This was due in part to the inadequacy of the fire detection and escape measures.

The cellar had only had one entrance — through an inward-opening door that did not have a proper handle on it.

That door was also partially blocked by the cooker, which was the source of the fire.

The court heard how Mr Sheridan's burns were consistent with him having to lean back over the burning cooker in order to escape the blaze.

No alarms fitted

The court also heard that there was no smoke or fire alarm fitted in the property at the time of the fire.

Though Shahid was not the owner of the property, he had the authority to deal with its management and had done so since 2008.

He was shown as the landlord on the tenancy agreement he signed with Mr Sheridan in August 2013 and Mr Sheridan's housing benefit was paid directly into Shahid's bank account.

"We worked closely with Leeds City Council to bring this successful prosecution, and we hope that seeing Shahid held accountable for his flagrant breach of the regulations will serve as a clear reminder to other landlords and property managers who fail to meet their legal obligations to put the safety of their tenants first," added DS Bowes.