Recent news of a landlord receiving a huge fine for fire safety breaches come as a timely reminder to all landlords to ensure they have all the correct fire safety standards in place. A buy to let landlord in Worthing was fined £20,000 by a court this month after a kitchen fire that occurred in May last year.
The landlord pleaded guilty and was handed a £20,000 fine. During the incident fire crews identified poor fire safety standards and that the fire alarm had failed to activate, preventing residents who were asleep in bed from escaping the building. Two residents were led to safety from a second floor flat, after the staircase became smoke logged and one person was taken to hospital with smoke inhalation.
Simon Westwell, Lettings Director at Petty’s said ” Landlords have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that fire safety systems, such as fire alarms, are in good working order. This incident could have been so much worse and the large size of the fine sends out a clear message that poor fire safety management will not be tolerated. It’s not worth the risk for the sake of saving to what amounts to a few pounds, to risk the safety and lives of your tenants. As well as a good fire alarm system landlords should also ensure there are adequate fire safety arrangements for tenants as well“
The majority of fires and fire-related fatalities in the UK are domestic. Figures from 2016/17 released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government showed 80 per cent of all fire-related fatalities (213) occurred in the home. 88 per cent of which were accidental and ultimately avoidable. In 31 per cent of domestic fires there was no smoke alarm and in 19 per cent of domestic fires a fire alarm was present, but it was not operational.
Simon said “As the data also suggests that those living in rented households and those living in flats are more likely than owner occupiers and than those in a houseto experience a fire, it really is imperative that landlords take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of their tenants”