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Landlords step up post-Grenfell fire safety checks

A number of buy-to-let landlords are taking measures to check the fire safety of their buy-to-let properties in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, according to new research.

A survey of 500 private landlords, carried out by FWD Research on behalf of Simple Landlords Insurance, found that a third (32%) had checked their fire alarms, and 15% had instructed a professional to carry out a fire risk assessment.

Landlords of houses in multiple occupancy (HMO) and flats were among the most proactive over past month, with fire alarm checks being conducted in half - 50% - of HMO properties and 35% of flats. These properties also saw a higher than average number of professional checks, with 39% of HMO and 22% of flats being visited for professional assessments.

Various other measures have been undertaken by landlords, including the checking of construction materials and contacting the freeholder regarding fire safety checks, while 17% of landlords also said that they had installed a carbon monoxide alarm.

But gas safety remains a major issue for many buy-to-let landlords, with just 83% of respondents conducting gas safety checks within the last 12 months, despite the fact that landlords are required by law to have a Gas Safe-registered engineer check all gas appliances at least once a year.

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 Huntley, head of operations at Simple Landlords Insurance, said: “Fire safety is clearly on the agenda for landlords in the UK, with a little over half taking positive action in the last month alone. Landlords have a legal obligation to protect tenants under fire safety regulations, particularly those with large or shared properties.

“Gas safety is also of paramount importance, and although on the whole the survey has shown a positive and responsible response from landlords, they must understand their obligations; fire and gas safety must never be left to chance.”

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