Gatton woman fined for unsafe budget accommodation
IN WHAT was described as a "blatant disregard" for fire regulations, Gatton woman Mayla Patterson was fined $10,500 in Gatton Magistrates Court for operating budget accommodation without meeting the Queensland fire safety standards.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services legal officer Paul Enders said on June 5, upon inspection, it was found that Patterson had a total of eight people living at 37 Hill St, Gatton, and 10 people living at 56 Cooper St, Laidley.
"In August 2013, 37 Hill St was the subject of a requisition, which was issued requiring that Patterson could not operate the premises as budget accommodation until or unless the premises met the fire safety standard," he said.
"Upon inspection of the properties it was found that the houses did not have compliant hard-wired smoke detectors, emergency lighting systems or compliant door handle hardware for exiting the premise in an emergency.
"She had also failed to display fire extinguisher or safety instructions, in case of emergency."
Mr Enders asked Magistrate Damian Carroll to have a conviction recorded.
"It's a prevalent problem and it's getting worse. People are being put at risk in accommodation," he said.
"It will send an important message to the community if a conviction is recorded."
Magistrate Carroll said it was a blatant disregard for fire safety regulations.
"Against a background that on September 9, 2013 you were fined $16,000 for 47 charges of a similar nature involving 15 premises," he said.
"You have pleaded guilty today, to nine charges, with some identical to the charges back in 2013."
Mr Carroll said most of the occupants were employed in the agricultural industry.
"You are doing this for money and if you're not prepared to comply with the safety standards, you are going to have to pay for that," he said.