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Landlord fire safety question

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
Me and a girl on my course have the same landlord but different houses on the same street. She (like me) has a ground floor room and was saying one of her windows doesn't shut properly, so she emailed our landlord asking for a lock. He replied saying that she couldn't have it and that he was going to come round and remove all the locks from the ground floor windows because it was a 'new fire safety thing'. She said that her insurance won't cover her if her windows don't have locks and he just shrugged it off. We both think this sounds a bit dodgy as he only decides to come and take all the locks when someone asks for one - surely if it was a new rule then he would have done it anyway? Does this sound iffy to anyone else? Also I've been waiting for him to repair the storage heater in my room for about 3 weeks, he bought me an oil filled mini heater in the meantime but I've been avoiding using it because I don't want the added bills. Would I be in my rights to ask him to subsidise my bills slightly as he's being slow to repair it and it's not my fault?


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I believe it's the council who set the fire safety standards for rental properties - so you could check with them. Not being allowed any kind of lock on downstairs windows sounds pretty dim, although I could see them possibly saying you can only have ones that are free to open from inside.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I know there are different rules (laws?) depending on the size of the house. As far as I am aware (and I may be wrong...) if there are more than four people in the house you have to have firedoors and fire extinguishers, mains fitted smoke alarms and maybe a fire exit sign. In a house of four or less it seems you don't have so many regulations.
    It'd be worth checking with the council or maybe the Citizens Advice Beureau.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey there Ballerina,

    Thanks for posting your query - I know fire safety is something that concerns us all if we're renting.
    As PurpledHaze mentions, the rules do differ if your friend is living in a HMO - House in Multiple Occupation.
    This article from Shelter explains landlord's fire safety responsibilities for HMO's and non-HMO's (scroll down for this) - http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions/home_safety/fire_safety/fire_safety_responsibilities

    Essentially the article says that for non-HMO's the landlord does not have to comply with any special laws but they must ensure that the property is free from any fire hazards. This can, therefore, include ensuring that there are adequate escape routes.

    Have a look at this Gov.UK article too about landlord's responsibilities - https://www.gov.uk/private-renting/your-landlords-safety-responsibilities
    Scroll down to 'fire safety'.

    However, probably of more concern to your friend is not having locks on her windows, especially as she is on the ground floor. Landlord's should ensure that properties are reasonably secure but I'm not sure if they can justify removing the locks because of fire safety. Therefore, it might be an idea to ask this specific question on askTheSite - http://www.thesite.org/community/askthesite/askaquestion
    Experts will answer your question, ensuring that the information is accurate.

    You can also phone Shelter on 0808 800 4444 - http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/how_we_can_help/housing_advice_helpline

    You also mention the problem in your flat with the storage heaters. Landlord's have a responsibility to carry out repairs to your home (do you have an assured shorthold tenancy?). Have a look at the Shelter website about repairs in private lets - http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions/disrepair_in_rented_accommodation/repairs_in_private_lets
    Essentially, as a tenant, you should give your landlord notice of repairs that are needed. Ideally this should be in writing. Your landlord should then carry out the repairs in a reasonable time; depending on the repairs needed this will differ.

    You need to weigh up what is a reasonable time for your landlord to carry out the repair, against taking further action. This isn't

    As a next step, maybe you could try writing to your landlord asking how long the repairs are going to take and what the delay is. Also explain your concerns about using the oil filled mini heater. Maybe your landlord will agree to reimburse you? If he does agree, make sure you get this in writing to prove it later.

    You could also try asking askTheSite about your query as mentioned above.

    I hope this helps!

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