Phil Turtle Landlords Defence

13 Jun 24

A recent court case in Sheffield serves as a stark reminder to landlords across the UK of their legal obligation to ensure fire safety in their rental properties.

Zahir Ahmed of Sheffield was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and 250 hours of community service after admitting to violating fire safety laws.

The case stemmed from a fire at a property he owned in February 2022.

Thankfully, firefighters were able to rescue all 11 people trapped inside the building.

However, the incident exposed a series of fire safety failings, including a lack of fire alarms, emergency lighting, and proper fire doors.

The single staircase also collapsed during the fire, injuring a firefighter.

Phil Turtle, a director of Landlord Licensing & Defence, is emphasising the critical role fire safety plays in protecting tenants.

He said: “Having a fire risk assessment, particularly for HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation), is essential for landlords to meet their legal obligations and ensure the safety of their tenants.

“This is a crucial step in identifying potential fire hazards in a rental property.”

He added: “It helps landlords develop a plan to mitigate these risks and ensure safe escape routes for tenants in case of a fire.”

Landlord Licensing & Defence say these reasons help explain why fire safety should be a top priority for UK landlords:

  • Legal obligation: The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires landlords in England and Wales to take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of fire and ensure the safe means of escape for occupants.
  • Tenant safety: Fires can have devastating consequences. By prioritising fire safety, landlords can help protect their tenants from harm.
  • Financial repercussions: Failing to comply with fire safety regulations can lead to hefty fines and even imprisonment, as seen in the Sheffield case.

Mr Turtle is now urging landlords to take proactive steps towards fire safety in their rental properties.

He said: “All landlords, or their agent, should regularly conduct fire risk assessments, install necessary safety equipment, and educate your tenants on fire safety procedures.

“By prioritising fire safety, landlords can create a safer environment for their tenants and avoid potential legal and financial repercussions.”

Landlord Licensing & Defence offer a free booklet to help landlords understand and meet their fire risk obligations to tenants.

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