RLA calls for fire regulations review to include smaller existing residential property

by Property 118

2 weeks ago

RLA calls for fire regulations review to include smaller existing residential property

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RLA calls for fire regulations review to include smaller existing residential property

The Government’s review into building and fire safety regulations is missing the opportunity to assess fire safety regulations across all types of housing.

This is the concern being expressed by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) as it formally responds to the Interim Report of the review led by Dame Judith Hackitt following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

In its response, the RLA warns, “we are concerned about the Interim Report’s focus on new build and high rise residential buildings, largely to the exclusion of the existing stock of smaller residential accommodation.”

The RLA is calling for contradictory and outdated fire safety guidance across all housing to be updated to make it clearer for landlords to ensure their properties are safe and improve enforcement and risk assessments by the authorities.  Doing so would also help to ensure that bad landlords cannot seek to exploit potential loopholes caused by overlapping regulations.

Of particular concern are the confused and split responsibilities of the Fire Services and local authorities in relation to bedsit accommodation and blocks of flats. At present The Fire Safety Order is limited in its scope to shared spaces such as living rooms, kitchens and hallways. The regulatory standard for private rented housing, the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, applies to the whole of a building. Each of these is enforced by a different body. Whilst the interim report refers to this, there is no implication that it accepts it as a key flaw in the current regime which needs to be addressed.

The RLA is calling also for a clear agreement about the responsibilities of councils and fire services for fire safety standards in communal areas in blocks of flats to address the current inconsistency of approach from local authorities across the country.

Richard Jones, Policy Consultant to the RLA said:

“Grenfell Tower was a tragedy that must never be repeated. It is vital that the Government’s review looks at fire and building safety issues in the round, and not just tower blocks.

“Ever growing volumes of complex and sometimes difficult to understand guidance causes confusion among tenants, landlords, local authorities and the fire services.

“We need much clearer guidance, in line with current standards, to develop a strengthened risk assessment regime with much more transparent lines of accountability about who is responsible for enforcing what. Standards for high rise blocks clearly need to be revisited and changed.

“We owe it to the memory of all those who lost their lives, and their loved ones, to get this right once and for all.”

Comments

terry sullivan

A week ago

RLA seems to have its own agenda

grenfell was an explosion

Chris Daniel

A week ago

Grenfell was caused by a faulty electric appliance (Owned by the Tenant.) The cause of the fire spreading was the cladding.
Without 'knocking calls for clarity, simplification or effectiveness' I'd have thought a Landlord organisation asking for More regulation at the current climate, is like Turkey's voting for Xmas !

Great let’s have more regulation as if Lordlands haven’t get enough to do.Thought RLA was for the Landlord not making there jobs harder.Thats one of the reasons I am not a member of any organisations,a private Landlord with one property rented to my cousin and support from my family.

Michael Bond

5 days ago

The most important thing is to ensure that "social " housing is subject to the same regulations as apply to the private sector. I only know what I have read in the papers about the Grenfell tragedy, but it sounds as though there was no emergency lighting over the stairs and no audible alarm. No PRS landlord would have been able to get away with not installing these in a comparable building. If the Grenfell Tower had belonged to a private landlord he would by now be in jail and they would have thrown away the key. Because it belonged to a public sector body responsibility will be shuffled between officials and no one will be held responsible. No doubt the elected councillor who is/was chairman if the relevant committee is a very capable and competent individual, but with no relevant experience. He(she) may be a solicitor, a banker, a hedge fund manager etc, but not someone with experience of residential property, as such a person would be adjudged to have an "interest" and would be disqualified from being involved.

Chris Daniel

5 days ago

Strangely enough Michael, the Regulator of Social Housing Standards published his Annual report on 10th April and I have to credit him with writing so much yet saying nothing. -
Which prompted my F.O.I sub't yesterday, as below. Will keep you posted on any response.
1. Could you give the numbers of Breaches of regulations and the punishment for social landlords over the last 3 years please.


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