Where there is smoke, there is fire - Tips for student landlords
Free from the constraints of living with mum and dad for the first time, thousands of students will be getting ready to move into their rented accommodation now for the new academic year.
For the student landlord, this means the beginning of new tenancies with potentially inexperienced tenants. One of the most important issues for student landlords to keep in mind is fire safety as recent figures reveal the average claim value for a fire related incident in a rented property has risen over the last three years to an estimated £18,000.
The most common cause of fire related claims are as a result of smoking, cooking and faulty, or overloaded, electrics.
Students moving into shared houses for the first time will be taking a lot of electrical appliances (laptop, phone charger, Ipad, TVs) with them and might be inexperienced with safety measures, like not overloading plug banks with numerous devices. They might also not be familiar with doing their own cooking and leaving the hob unattended when in use. Another potential hazard is smoking in the premises - coming back from a student party, it can be easy to forget that burning cigarette when under the influence of alcohol.
Eddie Hooker, CEO of Total Landlord Insurance says “Many fires could be prevented if tenants took simple preventative measures such as not leaving cooking unattended, not overloading plug banks and ensuring cigarettes are properly extinguished. However, landlords also have a responsibility to ensure their property is suitable for the type of tenant.”
Landlords are encouraged to follow these fire safety measures provided by Total Landlord Insurance:-
• Ensure smoke alarms are fitted and working
• Ensure the kitchen has a fire blanket
• Undertake regular electrical inspections of the property
• Do not permit your tenants to smoke in the property
• Discourage use of multi-plugs and extension leads - provide enough sockets in common areas and bedrooms
• Encourage tenants to unplug appliances, such as hair straighteners and phone chargers, rather than just turn them off
• Encourage tenants not to leave rubbish in the garden and ensure designated rubbish areas are away from the property
• Provide good quality internal doors throughout the accommodation to prevent the spread of fire and smoke in the event of a fire
• Communicate to students the vital need for the exit route to be kept clear at all times (i.e. no large items to be left in the hallway) and arrange an inspection at regular intervals
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