Landlord sued for damages by injured tenant after flat fire

A landlord in Norwich who was found guilty of numerous fire safety breaches after a serious flat fire last year is reportedly being sued for damages by a former tenant who suffered horrific injuries in the incident.

The lawsuit has been filed by catering student Layla Skalli, who was 19 at the time of the incident. In a dramatic fire at the flat she shared with three fellow students, Miss Skalli suffered 80 per cent burns to her skin and was lucky to be alive. She has since described the incident as having “destroyed” her life.

Miss Skalli is suing her former landlord, Michael Billings, for £2 million, after it was found that he breached fire safety regulations in the property.

These 14 breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – including installing fire alarms that may have given Miss Skalli enough warning to exit the burning building in time – may have also rendered Mr Billing’s landlords’ insurance void.

Miss Skall’s legal representative, Christopher Wilson-Smith QC, is believed to have said that Mr Billing’s insurers have refused to indemnify him for the £2 million in damages sought by Miss Skalli.

This case should act as a warning to landlords, as it emphasises the importance of implementing the right safety precautions in properties as well as taking out professional insurance. Landlords should also ensure they take out landlord’s liability insurance to cover the costs of tenants claims, within a reasonable limit.

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