Landlords and Local Authorities
The Housing Acts 1985 and 2004 make housing authorities specifically responsible for keeping the condition of all housing in their area, including their own housing stock, under review and for checking all aspects of health and safety, including fire safety. The legal duty on local housing authorities applies in respect of the whole building including the private living accommodation.
We have made an audit tool available to help councils check that proper fire precautions are in place when blocks of flats are refurbished. Housing providers are legally responsible for making fire risk assessments. Read the audit tool
We have also shared two guides for Councillors to explain what they should look out for during estate visits, and questions they should put to housing managers and wardens.
Councillor guide on fire safety for use during council meetings
Councillor guide on fire safety for use during estates visits
You may also find it useful to refer to these risk assessment guides
Read our fire safety advice for flats and maisonettes
Don't fall foul of the law
We have taken action ourselves and supported prosecutions by local authorities when we have had concerns about fire safety.
Read about our recent cases:
If you are a 'responsible person' you have a legal duty to keep your property safe from fire through the provisions of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
You have to ensure there is a comprehensive fire risk assessment that details the fire safety provisions that are in the property. This is usually carried out by a professional fire risk assessor and might identify additional measures that should be carried out as appropriate.
You should also develop an emergency evacuation plan for residents and ensure they know the actions they need to take in the event of a fire.
This plan must make sure residents and others are safe, that a fire can be detected and residents are warned if they need to evacuate. The structural protection provided within the building must protect residents or allow them to safely escape from fire or smoke using the corridors and staircases if necessary. Read more.
Landlords must check that the alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy, with landlords potentially facing penalties of up to £5,000, if they do not comply.
Previously, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service would have been responsible for keeping tenants safe but the onus is now on the landlords, not the fire service, as new regulations make it compulsory for landlords to fit the recommended alarms in rental homes.
Why the change?
Statistically, people are four times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there is no working smoke alarm and over the next ten years it is estimated that the new laws will result in 231 fewer deaths and 5,860 injuries.
Listen to Steve Wright, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, and Julie Wilkins, Wealden District Council, talking about the importance of the new laws and seminars.
Latest Update : 19 March 2018