Fire Service Calls For 2013
Smoke Alarm Law To Be Enacted
The Government passed a law back in 2013 requiring private rental sector (PRS) landlords to provide smoke alarms in all UK rental properties.
However, this new bill is still under public consultation and as yet it has not been brought into force and some local authorities claim that this is putting tenant’s lives at risk.
Now there are further calls from the fire service for more new laws to be introduced to make sure all landlords, both social and private sector, install smoke alarms in all rented properties.
Mandatory smoke alarms are among the key issues to be discussed at the Local Government Association’s (LGA) annual fire safety conference due to be held in Gateshead next month 10th – 11th March 2015.
The call for UK landlords to install smoke alarms in rental properties forms a central part of the LGA’s key report ‘The Fire and Rescue Service: Making our Nation Safer’, which was launched on Saturday 7th February 2015.
The report highlights a series of proposals on how UK fire services can improve fire safety for tenants, including calls for electrical wiring in rented properties to be inspected annually, the same way UK PRS landlords are obliged to obtain gas safety certificates (CP12’s) every year.
UK PRS landlords do have a duty of care to provide tenants with a safe living environment but as yet they are not currently obliged to install smoke alarms in rental properties unless the properties are Houses of Multiple Occupation, (HMO’s).
With over 4.1 Million rental properties in the private rented sector, it is estimated that there are still 3.5 million private rented properties which do not appear to have smoke alarms installed.
The fire service are calling for the 2013 law to be enacted so all private landlords are obliged to install smoke alarms in all privately rented properties.
The latest published figures show that more than 200 people die in residential property fires each year. (Both rented and owner occupied properties) and residents are at least four times more likely to die in a fire if they do not have a working smoke alarm.
Fire services across the UK have taken the initiative by providing the public with free smoke alarms as well as increasing public awareness with harder hitting fire safety awareness campaigns. However, they argue that it is up to private landlords to make sure working smoke alarms are installed in rental properties.
The chairman of the LGA’s fire services management committee, Cllr Jeremy Hilton, said: “Many people will be shocked that landlords are not obliged to install smoke alarms. The current laws are outdated and inadequate – and without question lives are being put at risk. While the majority of private landlords are reputable and voluntarily install smoke alarms, there are a small minority who don’t, needlessly putting lives at risk. They have a duty of care to ensure their tenants are safe. This is why we are calling on the Government to enact the law and ensure all private landlords install smoke alarms – and save hundreds of lives every year. A working smoke alarm can make the difference between life and death and should be seen as every bit as essential as a lock on the front door. By spending just a few pounds, landlords can save lives. In the meantime, we would urge anyone who hasn’t got a smoke alarm already fitted to make sure they are not needlessly putting themselves at risk of the death and destruction fire can cause by getting in touch with their local fire & rescue service requesting a free home safety check.”
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