Fire expert calls for register as PRS landlords 'ignore basic safety needs'
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Health and also in Housing, Regulation
Fire safety is a must for landlords
Britain’s top independent fire safety expert has called for the creation of a private sector landlords’ register to help protect millions of tenants across the UK.
Safety Management UK, which provides fire and carbon monoxide assessments for local authorities and housing associations across the country, has warned that tens of thousands of tenants – many of them families - are at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning and fire because PRS landlords are ignoring basic safety needs.
The company believes the creation of a national register would help local authorities and charities identify good and sub-standard housing and allow for the positive enforcement of basic standards.
SMUK is also backing the housing charity Shelter’s campaign to raise the living conditions of people stuck in poor-quality accommodation, and who are scared to speak out because they fear being evicted.
In Scotland alone, one in 20 private renters claims to have suffered CO poisoning in their home over the last five years, according to recent research by Shelter Scotland and Scottish Gas.
SMUK says the danger of CO in the PRS cannot be underestimated and its call for a register would lead to more safety checks – with landlords, who ignore the need, being struck off the register.
Latest figures show there are nine million people in rented accommodation in the UK - and Shelter says a “significant number” are living in poor conditions.
SMUK managing director Brian Gregory, a former firefighter, said: “We totally support Shelter in its work to raise the issue of poor rented accommodation, full of hazards and sometimes downright dangerous.
“Sub-standard accommodation can not only be a fire risk, as Shelter’s work in Scotland has revealed, the deadly menace of carbon monoxide poisoning is a real and growing danger.
“Whilst backing their call for action from the Government, we are calling for it to be taken one step further with the creation of a national landlords’ register.
“This would help local authorities and charities easily identify good and poor housing and allow for positive enforcement of basic standards.
“It would help to ensure that safety checks are carried out and that everything is being done to protect the hundreds of thousands of families currently living in sub-standard rented accommodation.”
This year SMUK will complete around 12,000 fire risk assessments in the UK across a wide range of sectors, including social housing.
Mr Gregory added: “Families have a right to know that the property they are living in is safe. A national register would help make this happen.”
“Landlords need to know that fire and carbon monoxide gas safety is not optional. Failing to act puts lives at risk.
“Creating a national landlords’ register, we believe, will help weed out the bad landlords, who do nothing to protect those renting their properties and will actually save lives.”