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Are your tenants at risk?

Thursday, 27th June, 2013

It is recognised fact that people living in rented or shared accommodation are seven times more likely to have a fire in their home.


• About 400 people a year die in accidental house fires
• Not having a smoke alarm doubles your risk of death
• Faulty electrics cause around 7,000 house fires a year
• Candles cause more than 5 fires a day


Many Landlords are failing to protect their tenants with adequate fire safety protection and in some of the worst cases, are in serious breach of fire safety legislation according to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC).


The recent case of a landlord, who has been jailed for 12 months for breaches of fire regulations, highlights this very serious problem. The premises concerned was a small block of newly built flats which were set light by an arsonist, causing the death of two tenants. The fire took hold because there had been combustible material in the common parts of the building.


The investigations found evidence that the landlord had breached several fire safety regulations. These included failure to provide appropriate general fire precautions by storing combustible material within a stairway; failing to provide appropriate general fire precautions; failure to manage fire precautions within the common parts; failure to carry out a fire risk assessment; failure to maintain the general fire precautions within the stairways; failure to establish a fire procedure; failure to disseminate such a procedure to residents.


Pat Barber, Chair of the AIIC comments: “Landlords have a duty of care to provide a safe property and comply with all regulations. We have seen numerous breaches of fire regulations, the most common being escape routes and fire exits blocked with furniture or other items. What’s more, we are still seeing properties which are not adequately fitted with smoke alarms. In newer properties it is requirement to have a hard wired smoke detector but in older properties this is not the case. It is however good practice and recommended by the fire service that smoke detectors are installed in every property. These can be bought very cheaply from your local DIY store and are simple to install – a worthwhile investment which could save lives.


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