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Housing Solicitors

Fire Safety: A Landlord’s Responsibility (3 August 2018)

Date: 03/08/2018
Duncan Lewis, Housing Solicitors, Fire Safety: A Landlord’s Responsibility

A recent study carried out by the government has revealed that, alarmingly, fire doors made by five different suppliers have failed fire safety tests and have been withdrawn from the market. The likelihood is that doors across the country will need to be replaced as soon as possible.

Fire doors are essential safety features that are needed for the compartmentalisation of fires which serves to stop or slow the spread of fire and allow for the safe evacuation of a building. The inquiry into the Grenfell fire has revealed that compartmentalisation failed, a major contributing factor to the rapid spread of the fire.

The government tested the doors after it emerged that front doors used in Grenfell Tower, resisted flames for only 15 minutes instead of the 30 minutes that was expected.

With the Grenfell Tower disaster undoubtedly weighing heavily on the minds of many tenants and landlords, it is vital that all fire safety measures are strictly followed.

Landlords’ Responsibility for Fire Safety

It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the safety of;

  • Electrical appliances and wiring

  • Gas appliances and supply

  • The fire resistance of any provided furniture

Landlords should also ensure that working fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are fitted on all inhabited floors. It is however, the tenant’s duty to check that the alarms work throughout the year.

Fire Regulations for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

In addition to the measures above, landlords of an HMO are required to ensure that the necessary fire precautions are provided and maintained. They include;
  • Fitting fire, heat and smoke detectors throughout the building in particular in high risk areas such as kitchen.

  • Fitting fire extinguishers and blankets – at least one extinguisher per floor and one blanket per kitchen.

  • Providing an escape route that can resist fire, smoke and fumes for a long enough time for everyone to leave. This can include external fire escapes, fire resistant internal stairs and fire resistant corridors.

  • Ensuring all doors leading to such escape routes are fire resistant and close automatically.

  • Ensure a minimum of 30 minutes fire protection is in place to allow residents to escape during a fire.

Single household occupancy and low-risk shared households usually have no requirement for formal compartmentation so long as the construction of the building is sound and doors are close fitting and secure. Neither landlords nor tenants should accept flimsy constructed doors.

Larger properties such as HMOs will however, require a minimum of 30 minutes fire protection (including fire doors). Escape routes must be designed to remain free from smoke and fire for enough time to allow those occupying the building to pass safely through as a means of escape.

With fire safety experts estimating that thousands of the faulty doors will need to be replaced, it is important follow basic safety guidelines regarding fire doors.

Do

  • Get an accredited professional to install the fire doors

  • Check that all doors have a valid certification

  • Check that all seals are fire proof

  • Check the doors close automatically and correctly

Don’t

  • Leave doors open – this defeats the purpose of the fire door

  • Try to install or replace doors yourself

  • Leave damaged doors un-replaced

If a landlord fails to adhere to fire safety regulations the safety of their tenants is severely compromised. Landlords can be fined and sent to prison if they do not follow fire safety regulations.

Housing Director at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, Manjinder Kaur Atwal says;

“Your landlord must keep the property you live in safe and free from health hazards. When renting a property, whether for residential or business purposes, your landlord has a legal duty of care towards you as his/her tenants. This means it is the landlord’s duty to ensure that the premises are free from any potential risks that could injure the occupants.”

For more information about your tenants’ rights or for any issues in regards to housing disrepair, please contact Manjinder directly on 020 3114 1269 or at manjindera@duncanlewis.com.

Duncan Lewis Housing Solicitors

Duncan Lewis Housing Solicitors may be able to help. Duncan Lewis Housing Solicitors can guide clients in any matter or issues arising with local housing authorities, housing applications, tenants, landlords, ownership and repairs. The Duncan Lewis housing team specialises in representation in all social housing proceedings including reviews, appeals and judicial review relating to homelessness, disrepair, succession for tenants and neighbourhood disputes against local authorities.

If you have any housing related queries or require representation please do not hesitate to contact our team of expert solicitors on 0333 772 0409.


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