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Council warns rental sector after “scary” fire at HMO

A local council is warning the HMO rental sector that tenants may be put at unnecessary risk as a result of fire precautions not being in place or being kept up to date.

The fire, which occurred on May 18 in the roof of a three-storey HMO, was brought under control by the efforts of Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Now a spokesman for Cherwell district council says: “This was a scary incident and might have been worse had the landlord not had the correct safety measures in place. Landlords not only have to provide the correct safety measures, like smoke detectors, they need to keep them up to date, as this landlord did.”


He continues: “Fire doors are one of the most frequent areas of neglect, but they can make the difference between life and death for renters. We will always assist landlords who are trying to do what is right but take the strongest possible measures for those who are not.”

Dave Bray, protection manager at Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, adds: “Putting out a fire at the top of a three-story terraced building is no easy feat, but luckily our fire crews were able to approach the building from opposite sides to bring the fire quickly under control.

“Because HMOs can have large numbers of occupants, they are subject to extra safety requirements, such as hardwired, linked smoke detectors and protected escape routes, including fire resisting doors. We support Cherwell District Council in making sure these standards are being maintained in local HMOs.”

Relevant measures include mains-wired fire alarms, fire retardant front doors, emergency lighting, and risk assessments. HMO licence conditions also cover annual gas safety certificates and keeping electrical appliances in a safe condition.

If landlords fail to maintain a licenced HMO at the required standard, they may face prosecution or a civil penalty of up to £30,000 per offence.

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    Pat on the back landlord article this. Makes a change I must say.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Bit of a non-story really ?

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    • 04 June 2020 13:59 PM

    There are many properties especially in diverse areas where due to the size of the family and the propensity for multi-generational domestic living arrangements have far more occupiers than a HMO.
    Yet NO fire precautions are required.
    So why are unrelated sharers worthy of decent fire precautions but large families aren't!?

    Perhaps it is about time that fire precautions were required where there are more than 4 occupiers or individuals whether all one household or not.

    Properties in diverse areas tend to be overcrowded yet no legal action would be taken against any of the household in the event of multiple deaths of family members from the effects of a fire.

    It tends to be that these multi-generational properties are occupied by those in the diverse lower socio-economic levels of society.

    They have less protection from fire than unrelated sharers.
    Is that fair on those family members!?

    Obviously requiring the same level of fire precautions as HMO would result in ugly and unsightly interiors which few homeowners would wish to install.
    However I'm sure that fire precautions could be adjusted for family occupied residential properties such there was a similar level of protection but not so that such precautions would be that noticeable to cause a reduction in perceived property value.

    Perhaps above a certain number of individual family members it should be a requirement to have additional fire precaution measures installed.

    It might persuade those in diverse areas not to overcrowd their properties so enhancing the safety of all!


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