Landlords take fire safety action after Grenfell tragedy
In a survey of more than 500 landlords, we’ve found that more than half of the UK’s landlords have taken measures to check fire safety in their buy-to-let properties, following the Grenfell Tower fire.
“Anyone who watched the Grenfell tragedy unfold has seen exactly how devastating fire can be,” says Alex Huntley, Simple’s Head of Operations. “We wanted to take a dip test to see if and how the fire has affected landlords’ behaviour.”
The survey found that a third of landlords - 32% - had checked their fire alarms, and 15% had had a professional fire risk assessment carried out.
HMO landlords (Houses in Multiple Occupancy), and landlords of flats, have been the most proactive. Fire alarm checks have taken place in 50% of HMO properties and 35% of flats, with professional risk assessments taking place at 39% of HMOs and 22% of flats.
Landlords in London - with Grenfell just on the doorstep - were the most responsive. 72% reported having taken at least one action following the fire - compared with just a third of landlords in Wales.
“Landlords have a legal obligation to protect tenants under fire safety regulations - particularly those with large or shared properties,” continues Alex. “Fire safety is clearly firmly on their agenda. It’s great to see that a little over half of our landlords have taken positive action in the last month alone. That’s good news for the private rented sector, and good news for tenants.
“As insurers, we know first hand how much damage a fire can cause. That’s why it’s so important to follow fire regulations, check fire alarms, and conduct regular checks on gas and electrical appliances and systems. Unfortunately, our findings also showed not all landlords were taking those measures - particularly when it comes to gas safety.”
Whilst every landlord questioned said they had conducted a gas safety inspection at their property, only 83% said that it had happened within the last 12 months. The majority of the remaining landlords (11%) fell between the 12 and 18 month bracket - and an alarming 4% said it had been more than three years since their last gas safety inspection.
Alex said: “Landlords are required by law to have a Gas Safe-registered engineer check all gas appliances at least once a year. Although on the whole the survey has shown a positive and responsible response from landlords, they must understand all of their obligations. Fire and gas safety can never be left to chance.”
If you’re concerned about fire safety, you can find out more from our resident expert Carl Agar, MD of Big Red House, and founder of 'The Home Safe Scheme' in this video, or take a look at our Simple Fire Safety Guide here.