Fire and rescue service send out warning to landlords
LANDLORDS are being urged to follow fire safety regulations as courts crack down on fire safety breaches, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service have warned.
Following a fatal fire in May 2012 in Kettering, three men who failed to take the correct fire precautions in nine properties have been prosecuted by Northamptonshire County Council’s fire and rescue service. All the premises were occupied as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) as defined within sections 254-259 of the Housing Act 2004.
Community Safety Protection Manager, Paul Bray said: “This case clearly demonstrates how seriously fire safety breaches are viewed by the courts.
"I hope it sends a clear message out to landlords and managing agents across Devon and Somerset.
"Suitable provision and maintenance of fire precautions is important in all buildings, but especially so where there are lots of people sleeping.
“Landlords have a duty under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, to take suitable and sufficient general fire precautions to protect relevant persons from fire.
"Devon & Somerset Fire Rescue Service carry out inspections of premises to ensure compliance and where non-compliance is identified, we will take steps to achieve compliance.
"This may be through giving advice, but on occasions where there is a lack of co-operation or a deliberate disregard for fire safety, the Service will take robust action which can include legal action.
“Statistics show that 30.4 per cent of properties in the South West are rented. Rented accommodations such as HMOs are where most fire related deaths occur.
"Fire statistics show that 45.4 per cent of accidental fire deaths in the South West (where the tenure has been recorded) occurred in rental properties.
"HMOs often house vulnerable people with landlords who won’t or haven’t, taken simple and affordable fire precautions by fitting fire doors or fire alarm systems, which could prevent fires from becoming tragedies."