Tenant causing a fire risk?

by Readers Question

11:55 AM, 12th March 2015
About 4 years ago

Tenant causing a fire risk?

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Tenant causing a fire risk?

I have a postgraduate student tenant in an HMO with a total currently of four tenants (separate contracts, not a group) who repeatedly (and after specific e-mail requests not to do so) causes fire risks e.g.

blocking escape routes with his belongings,

leaving aerosols and gas canisters on south facing window sills, where they get hot in the sun

removing “In case of fire” information from communal area

I fear for his safety, that of the other tenants and of the family living in the adjoining house.   I also fear that unless I take further action against him and  he causes a fire, the insurance company might say that I should have taken action to evict him, as I was aware of the dangers he was posing.   There is no specific clause in his contract relating to this problem that I can quote in a warning letter to him.

I  have already increased my fire checks of the property from monthly to weekly.   At almost every check, I find he has caused another fire risk.

Your advice would be much appreciated.

Thank you – Grisk



Comments

Dr Rosalind Beck

18:19 PM, 13th March 2015
About 4 years ago

I think the only answer is to immediately issue him with his notice. You've given him enough chances. You need to protect the other tenants, the neighbours and your investment. What if he was responsible for burning the whole street down? And your insurance company refused to pay, because as you say, you were aware of his risky behaviour. The minute you issue the notice you show that you have done the right thing.
And I speak as someone who has just had a fire in one of our houses which got turned into a cannabis farm and who is now having to go through all the rigmarole of the insurance company - which is a hell of a lot of work and also stress, as you're never sure if they'll honour the claim. But I thank God our fire didn't spread... All the best with it. But the main thing is: GET HIM OUT NOW!

Sam Addison

18:21 PM, 16th March 2015
About 4 years ago

If you have no specific clause dealing with this sort of behaviour you will either have to rely on a more general clause or the law of the land. Without seeing his contract it is difficult to comment and anyway I am not an expert.
That said, it seems to me that he is in breach of Health and Safety laws in removing fire notices and is also a nuisance to other tenants by blocking accesses and risking their lives.
If all else fails you must surely have some sort of termination clause in his contract similar to a section 21 notice whereby you can get him out eventually!

mark smith

13:07 PM, 4th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ros ." at "13/03/2015 - 18:19":

i have just been to a house i rent and found that a light fitting has broken at the bottom and the tenant was using duct tape to hold a bulb in , and the white plastic on the fitting at the bottom was brown, the main tenant has 2 relatives lodging there who may have resorted to this, what is the best thing to do?

Dr Rosalind Beck

14:23 PM, 4th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "mark smith" at "04/11/2015 - 13:07":

Hi Mark. I'm not an expert. What I would do though is get an electrician in to sort it out, issue a certificate that it is safe - you will have to pay the electrician, but give a bill to the tenant. If I were you I would also write a letter with the bill attached, keep a copy and get proof of postage. That way if anything ever happens you will show you have done the right thing. It's up to you if you think the tenant should get their notice. I'm not sure if it's a good idea, but you could also explain it to your insurance company and ask if you are required to give notice in this situation - but don't do that until someone else here with more knowledge confirms that this is the way to go. All the best.

Mark Shine

19:31 PM, 4th November 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ros ." at "04/11/2015 - 14:23":

Not sure you could hold a tenant responsible for a deteriorated light fitting. Unless you have proof that it was maliciously damaged. Just get electrician to replace. And ask tenant to inform you (or your managing agent if you use one) if any similar problems occur in future. Keep a record of everything.

I'd be more concerned about the lodger issue, whom I assume are not on the tenancy agreement...


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