The Residential Landlord’s Association (RLA) is warning that existing guidance for landlords on fire safety is “contradictory and outdated” and needs updating to better support good landlords.
At the present time, landlords are expected to follow fire safety guidance issued by LACORS, a body that no longer exists. These fire safety regulations date back to 2005 along with building regulations guidance issued in 2006.
The RLA argues that there is also “contradictory guidance” published in 2006, which covers the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), used by councils to assess risks in dwellings. For example, the RLA claims, HHSRS guidance suggests a higher standard for detectors and alarms than the existing smoke detector regulations.
The RLA is calling also for a “clear agreement in England and across the devolved administrations” to ensure better enforcement and implementation of the responsibilities of councils and fire services of fire safety standards in communal areas in blocks of flats. The RLA says it “believes that there are too many inconsistencies in approaches from local authorities across the country.”
RLA Vice Chairman, Douglas Haig, said:
“Whilst establishing the cause of the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower is of paramount importance we must not, in the meantime, delay a full review of fire safety standards applying to all housing tenures, including the private rented sector.
“This means updating guidance for landlords which at present fails to reflect the realities of modern day technology and building design. This patchwork quilt of guidance is too easy to exploit for the small minority of landlords who have no place in the sector and gives unclear and inconsistent advice to landlords who wish to comply and ensure that their tenants are safe.
“We need also to ensure better and more consistent enforcement of the regulations. Tenants in any part of the country are entitled to have confidence that the approach taken by fire and local authorities is consistent and offers them the same protection regardless of tenancy type.”
The RLA represents over 50,000 private sector residential landlords in England and Wales.