The Grenfell Tower fire was a tragedy that has rocked the property world and caused distress throughout the UK and beyond. The scenes witnessed by victims, firefighters and witnesses will doubtless be remembered for decades to come, and Landlords everywhere should be more concerned about safety than ever before.
Guaranteed Rent Specialists, Assetgrove says “It’s absolutely essential that all landlords understand their responsibilities when it comes to the safety of their properties and those living in them. Landlords must be aware of the safety precautions that you have to undertake, from gas checks to fire safety risk assessments.”
With the death toll still rising and the very real possibility that those held responsible will be tried for corporate manslaughter, it’s clear that the tragedy was a huge failure that cannot be repeated. But with the latest figures revealing that in excess of 185 high rises buildings have now failed fire cladding safety checks, we still have a major problem.
The announcement was made by Communities Secretary Safid Javid, who confirmed that all of the buildings that have been checked have failed combustibility checks. Properties in Islington, Lambeth, Brent, Camden, Wandsworth and Hounslow have all failed to meet the required standards; news that has understandably caused concern for the thousands of residents affected.
It’s not just a London issue either- high rises in Portsmouth, Stockton-on-Tees, Sunderland, Norwich, Doncaster, Manchester, Plymouth and Portsmouth have all fallen short on their safety requirements.
Kensington and Chelsea Council took the decision to evacuate residents from tower blocks close to Grenfell Tower, as did several of the others affected, but the decision has had a mixed response. Many residents who suffer with mental health problems and other issues such as agoraphobia are distressed by having to move home, although the decision was supported by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan who agreed it would be better to err on the side of caution.
The cost of the Grenfell tragedy is far reaching, both in terms of money and human life, and the effects will be felt for many years to come. Although it’s local authorities and HMO landlords who will feel most of the brunt of the economic impact, this is a disaster that’s made everyone sit up and listen.
If you’re a landlord, now is the time to take stock.
Fulham estate agent, Lawsons & Daughters reiterates. “Whether you rent a large HMO to ten people or a small studio flat to one tenant, it is your responsibility to ensure that all safety requirements are met.”
So, here’s a recap of the top ten things all Landlords need to be on top of:
- Gas Safety Checks must be undertake every year by a certified professional.
- A Fire Safety Order must be obtained for all flats, bedsits and hostels.
- Energy Performance Certificates must be obtained and given to all tenants before moving in.
- Deposits must be protected by an official Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
- Administration fees and advance rent must be clearly outlined prior to the commencement of any rental agreement.
- You may be required to obtain an HMO licence from your local authority if you are renting to several people.
- All homes of multiple occupancy must have electrical safety checks undertaken by a registered professional every five years.
- All homes should have at least one smoke alarm fitted and fire alarm systems must be provided in HMOs.
- Carbon Monoxide alarms must be fitted in all homes.
- All landlords must complete risk assessments for legionnaire’s disease.
Knightsbridge estate agent, Plaza Estates summarises, “The terrible tragedy at Grenfell should remind everyone how important safety is. If you’re still not clear on your responsibilities, visit www.gov.uk/private-renting or ask your local property agent.