More Flat Fires Raises Calls for Regulation of Landlords

fire safety

New calls for stronger regulation of private landlords has been raised as yet another fire destroys a home without any smoke alarms. A Southend councillor that has been campaigning for years for better fire safety regulations for landlords letting to private tenants has stated that a lack of smoke alarms in private rented accommodation could prove fatal.

Following another flat fire in Westcliffe where a family were lucky to escape with their lives, it was discovered that the rented flat did not have a smoke alarm installed. The family were asleep at the time of the fire and were lucky to get out. The family woke up in the early hours to find their flat was engulfed in smoke. The family had to jump from a window to safety as the fire was blocking the front door.

Unfortunately, the family had been made homeless because of the fire and had to live in a hostel until they could be rehoused, losing a lot of precious belongings to the fire. Had there been a fire alarm in place, this could have sounded earlier and maybe the situation could have been better controlled and the fire contained and extinguished.

The family say that it was lucky that they did wake up in time to make their escape. Had they not done so the situation could have been tragic.

This is another example of why private landlords need to have tighter fire safety regulations in place. Leaving rented property open to fire risks could result in a loss of life if there is no adequate fire protection in place.

fire safety

Are you a landlord?

If you are a landlord with private rented accommodation, it is your duty to have adequate fire alarm systems in place. It is your legal responsibility under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005), this is commonly known as the Fire Safety Order (FSO).

As a landlord, legislation requires that you carry out a fire risk assessment in all areas of your rented properties. A fire risk assessment will identify any fire hazards and who is at risk from them. It will help you remove or address issues that can help to reduce the risk.

As of 1 October 2015, private sector landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of each of their rental properties as well as a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing an open fire or solid fuel burning appliance, e.g. a wood burning stove. Following on from that, a landlord must make sure the alarms are in full working order at the start of each new tenancy.

Maintenance, fire safety

Apart from the obvious health and safety aspect of having a fire alarm system in place, a landlord can benefit from having the correct fire protection equipment in place. For example, the right fire protection cover will give you a discount on your insurance premiums. Having an early detection system in place will also minimise any damage done in the event of a fire, so you will have less less repairs to do afterwards.

Don’t forget though that if you fall short of your legal obligations, you could face a severe fine or even worse!

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