Birmingham & Black Country

West Bromwich 'fire risk' flats leaseholders in court

Metro Court Image copyright Google
Image caption The three-storey block was converted from offices

The leaseholders of a block of flats found to be in breach of fire regulations have appeared in court on safety charges.

First Job Ltd, a director and former director, face charges including failing to comply with a prohibition which could have led to death or serious injury in case of a fire.

Eighty residents, mostly Romanian nationals, were moved from Metro Court in West Bromwich in July.

All have found new accommodation.

At the time the residents moved, Sandwell Council said the former office block had "a long list of problems" including fire alarms that were not working. The residents were paying £500 per month for their accommodation.

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The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has also said it is aware of the matter and had sent an inspector to meet First Job Ltd managers.

The leaseholder told the GLAA it had planned to offer the residents an "accommodation and job-seeking service package", but later dropped the job-seeking service, the GLAA said.

There is no suggestion of slavery or indication of workers being controlled, the GLAA said.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The block of flats failed to meet safety standards when it was converted from offices

First Job Ltd was responsible for meeting building and fire safety regulations when the building, owned by Metro Court Ltd, was converted from offices to flats.

Sandwell Council said it had secured a closure order on Metro Court in West Bromwich and the site is now empty.

First Job Ltd and director Daniel Orasanu, 42, and former director Carmen Maria Lupu, 27, both of Smestow Bridge Industrial Estate, Wombourne, Wolverhampton, appeared at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court on Thursday.

Each face 29 charges under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

They have not entered any pleas and the case has been sent to Wolverhampton Crown Court on 14 September.

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