Landlords given fire safety warning
Published by Daniel Jones
Landlords have been urged to think long and hard about the fire safety requirements they must meet for each and every property they rent out.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) has issued a warning after the prosecution of three men following a fatal fire in Kettering in May 2012. They were found to have failed to have taken the correct precautions in nine properties and were subsequently taken to court by Northamptonshire County Council's fire and rescue body.
In those cases, all of the properties in question were being used as homes of multiple occupation.
DSFRS community safety protection manager Paul Bray told the Cheddar Valley Gazette: "I hope it sends a clear message out to landlords and managing agents across Devon and Somerset. Suitable provision and maintenance of fire precautions is important in all buildings, but especially so where there are lots of people sleeping."
He went on to explain that all landlords have a duty under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to make sure their properties are subject to sufficient measures and improvements that protect those inside from the threat of fire.
With Mr Bray noting 30.4 per cent of all properties in the south-west are under rental occupation, it is crucial that landlords in the region are on top of fire safety. Houses in multiple occupation are the setting for the highest number of fire-related deaths.
Indeed, some 45.4 per cent of all accidental fire deaths in the south-west occur in rental properties, illustrating the threat faced by some tenants. Forcing landlords to act to keep people as safe as possible should be a priority over the coming months.
However, Mr Bray suggested houses in multiple occupation often provide a place to live to vulnerable people. Coupled with landlords who will not or have not taken easy steps to improve the fire safety of a building, this is a recipe for disaster.
- Landlord and Tenancy News from Lawpack: Get all the risk assessment template forms and guidance you need to comply with fire safety regulations with Lawpack's Fire Risk Assessment Kit.
Published on: October 7, 2013
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