Calls for private landlords to be legally required to install and maintain smoke alarms in properties

Smoke alarmAvon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is supporting a national campaign urging the Government to enact new enabling measures included in the Energy Act that require private sector landlords to install and maintain smoke alarms in all properties.

 

In a response to the Government’s consultation on ‘Conditions in the Private Sector’ the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA), the professional voice of the fire and rescue service, believes that regulation is required.

AF&RS Temporary Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Mick Dixon, said: “We see first-hand the devastating consequences of fire. It can destroy homes, belongings and most significantly, lives.

“Much work has been done to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from fire, thanks to better housing conditions, the existence of fire protection equipment and fire safety campaigns.

“But more work still needs to be done. The majority of victims are often vulnerable and live in private rented accommodation. Making it a legal requirement for all landlords to fit smoke alarms will go a long way to improving the safety of hundreds of families and stop dozens of people from losing their lives in fires each year.”

Nationally, between 2006/7 and 2011/12 over 650 people died in fires where there was no smoke alarm present.

CFOA President, Paul Fuller, said: “Although the current voluntary system of installing smoke alarms has had some success, a regulated system with significant penalties for landlords would build upon this, and ensure rogue landlords feel compelled to install and periodically check smoke alarms and protect their tenants.

“Early research currently being undertaken by the University of Manchester has suggested that two thirds (62%) of fire deaths that occur in private rented housing did not have a working smoke alarm. A smoke alarm with a ten-year battery is available on the high street for between £14.99 and £19.99, equivalent to just £1.99 a year, and should not be a significant burden or cost for landlords or the broader private rented sector.

“CFOA stands ready to support the government in establishing the most practical means of delivering this policy including supporting the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) and its officials to undertake a comprehensive impact assessment.”

For more information on fire safety advice for landlords visit www.avonfire.gov.uk/business-safety