Contradictory and outdated fire safety guidance needs updating to better support landlords, insists the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).
Currently, landlords are expected to abide by fire safety guidance that was issued by LACORS – a body that no longer exists – fire safety regulations that date back to 2005 and building regulation guidance issued in 2006.
That is in addition to contradictory guidance published in 2006, which covers the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), used by councils to assess risks in dwellings. For example, the HHSRS guidance suggests a higher standard for detectors and alarms than the existing smoke alarm regulations.
While the vast majority of landlords ensure that the safety of their tenants is their main priority and abide by their legal obligations, the RLA is warning that the confusion and sometimes contradictory fire safety guidance needs to be addressed to help them, whilst ensuring that bad landlords cannot seek to exploit potential loopholes.
It is also calling for a clear agreement in England and across the devolved administrations to ensure better enforcement and implementation of the responsibilities of councils and fire services of fire safety standards in communal areas of blocks of flats.
The RLA believes that there are too many inconsistencies in approaches from local authorities across the country.
The Vice Chairman of the RLA, Douglas Haig, says: “Whilst establishing the cause of the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower is of paramount importance, we must not, in the meantime, delay a full review of fire safety standards applying to all housing tenures, including the private rented sector.
“This means updating guidance for landlords, which, at present, fails to reflect the realities of modern day technology and building design. This patchwork quilt of guidance is too easy to exploit for the small minority of landlords who have no place in the sector, and gives unclear and inconsistent advice to landlords who wish to comply and ensure that their tenants are safe.”
He urges: “We need also to ensure better and more consistent enforcement of the regulations. Tenants in any part of the country are entitled to have confidence that the approach taken by fire and local authorities is consistent and offers them the same protection, regardless of tenancy type.”
We have put together thorough and comprehensive fire safety guidance for landlords. Read the document for free here: https://www.justlandlords.co.uk/news/landlords-guide-complete-fire-safety/