Landlords and managing agents of HMOs could face unlimited fines following new measures being brought in to strengthen fire safety, the Home Office has announced.
Exact details are awaited but the new measures, announced as part of the government’s response to the Fire Safety Consultation, will apply to HMOs and other multi-tenancy premises only.
They will come into force as part of the legislation in the Building Safety Bill - probably some time in 2022.
The measures will amend the Fire Safety Order and will include a requirement for fire risk assessments to be recorded for each building and improve how fire safety information is handed over throughout the lifetime of a building.
Fire Minister Lord Greenhalgh says: “Everyone should be safe in the buildings where they live, stay or work.
“Our new measures will improve fire safety and help save lives, but will also take firm action against those who fail in their duty to keep people safe.”
And Roy Wilsher, National Fire Chiefs Council Chair, adds: “We want to see safer buildings for residents and are committed to working constructively with the Home Office and other partners on the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations and other key fire safety policy areas.”
The government says the new measures will:
- improve the quality of fire risk assessments and competence of those who complete them;
- ensure vital fire safety information is preserved over the lifespan of all regulated buildings;
- improve cooperation and coordination amongst people responsible for fire safety and making it easier to identify who they are;
- strengthen enforcement action, with anyone impersonating or obstructing a fire inspector facing unlimited fines;
- strengthen guidance issued under the Fire Safety Order so that failure to follow it may be considered in court proceedings as evidence of a breach or of compliance;
- improve the engagement between Building Control Bodies and Fire Authorities in reviewing plans for building work;
- require all new flats above 11 metres tall to install premises information boxes.