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Landlord breaches fire safety laws

7 April 2015

Fire safety laws have been at the fore of media coverage within the property industry in recent months.

The London Fire Brigade have publicised a fire safety message following the inquest into the 2009 Lakanal fire, where six people lost their lives. The ‘know your fire plan’ campaign was launched to raise public awareness and communication between landlords and tenants of fire safety, providing guidance and highlighting what should be done in the event of a fire inside their property.

At the end of March The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) also announced their ‘Fire Kills’ #TickTockTest campaign urging people to test smoke alarms once a month.

Total Landlord Insurance is supporting both of these campaigns by urging landlords to test their smoke alarms at the start of every month and ensuring landlords are aware of the responsibilities they have under fire safety law, ensuring they communicate fire safety information towards their tenants.

A recent case has emerged whereby a landlord within Lancashire has been ordered to pay a £80,820 fine including prosecution costs and a victim surcharge for breaking fire safety laws.

The landlord, Stuart De’Ath was prosecuted by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service for breaching 18 regulations of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order 2005, relating to three of his rental properties in the Lytham St Annes area of Lancashire.

The breaches related to three three-story properties which contained 19 flats.

The case was heard at the Magistrates Court in Blackpool using a comprehensive file prepared by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s fire safety enforcement team. The landlord pleaded guilty to 18 charges on 18th March.

The charges included:

• No fire risk assessment
• Inadequate fire separation throughout all premises
• Inadequate means of giving warning in case of fire
• Inadequate provision of Emergency Lighting
• Inadequate fire evacuation procedure

It is the landlord’s responsibility to follow fire safety regulations when letting their property to tenants such as having access to escape routes at all times. They must also ensure that furniture and furnishings they supply are fire safe and they must provide fire alarms and extinguishers (if the property is a large House Multiple Occupation (HMO).

New legislation is now being introduced from October 10, 2015 whereby landlords will be required to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in every home they rent out under new rules announced by Housing Ministry Brandon Lewis. To read the full story click here.

Landlord breaches fire safety laws