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Fire safety report reveals shocking ignorance among some lettings agents

The industry faces a fire safety ticking time bomb, a report has highlighted, just before the post-Grenfell Fire Safety Bill becomes law.

Nigel Lewis

fire safety bill

The lettings industry is facing a ticking time bomb over fire risk in residential blocks, a new report has highlighted just a few days before the government’s post-Grenfell Fire Safety Bill becomes law.

Services giant JLA, which has drawn up the lengthy report into competency and attitudes to fire risk across several industries including property management, says it found that despite being seen as a reliable source of information for advice, 22.2% of estate agents and letting agents admitted to not knowing how to carry out a full fire risk assessment.

This figure is all the more shocking given the current national debate around safety in residential blocks following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Regulations

Property managers and landlords in the UK are required by law to comply with regulations set out in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) and The Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006.

Also, the new Fire Safety Bill 2019-2021 which will be an amendment to the RRO will also place greater accountability on ‘responsible persons’ for managing and reducing the risk of fire.

As well as significantly low levels of knowledge within the property industry, JLA says 10% of those it canvassed did not even know about the new Bill going through parliament.

Once it passes into law, this legislation will remove any doubt about who is responsible for safety within multi-occupancy buildings such as HMOs and apartment blocks.

It will also hold building owners and ‘responsible persons’ to account for not complying with safety guidelines issued by by fire and rescue authorities, who will soon have enforcement powers.

Read the JLA report.

March 12, 2021

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