THE owner of a house being rented out for homestays and holidays has been told to make improvements after it was branded a 'death-trap'.

The property in Holley Crescent, Headington, Oxford, is available to rent on website Airbnb – which allows people to rent out their homes for short stays. But it came in for criticism from a disgruntled guest who complained it was a fire hazard.

Gary Dolan, from St Albans, who was due to stay in an apartment in the house for a break last month, said that when he and his partner arrived and saw the place, they turned around and left immediately.

He said: “I refused to risk my life staying one moment in the place.

“There were no fire alarms, other than one on the top of the stairs. There was also massive amounts of flammable material in the kitchen area.

“It was disgusting and the city council should demand that at least the minimum improvements are met for this Airbnb.”

Mr Dolan had been planning to stay one night in Oxford as a treat for his partner and to discover the history of Inspector Morse. He had agreed a price of £66.

The house which is a house in multiple occupancy (HMO) advertises rooms as ‘large double en-suite , self-catering’ facilities.

It is advertised on the Airbnb website as ‘newly decorated’ and ‘spacious’ and says it includes a fire extinguisher, smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector.

Mr Dolan, however, complained that the fire extinguisher was hidden behind a chair and the smoke detector only present on the upstairs floor.

The 50-year old added: “My first impression of Oxford was totally ruined. If a fire breaks out, which is likely, people staying there could die.

“We were there for three minutes and I decided that there was no way we would stay there and risk our lives.”

New rules introduced under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 last month grant local authorities the power to fine landlords £30,000 for a range of housing offences.

This includes failing to improve a property, failing to have a correct licence for a HMO or failing to follow HMO rules.

In response to the complaint, the city council said the owners were now under investigation and had been asked to improve their fire safety measures.

Environmental health service manager Ian Wright said: “It’s an address known to us.

“We prosecuted the owner in May 2016 for failing to licence an HMO and with 10 breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations.

“The owner no longer meets our fit and proper person test, so they have had to come forward with another person who is now the licence owner.”

An inspection carried out last week found that although the property was in overall ‘satisfactory’ condition there were additional works needed.

Fire safety measures were ordered including additional fire detection systems and fire doors, and some improvements to the layout of the kitchen.

City council spokesman Shaun Payne said: “They were able to access all parts of the property. “Overall the conditions at the property were generally satisfactory, however there are some additional works that are needed to meet the requirements for HMOs.

“A schedule of additional works will be sent to the landlord in writing to complete.

“Some additional fire safety measures such as additional fire detection systems and fire doors. Also minor improvements to the layout of the kitchen."

The owner did not respond to requests for comment.