Mak­ing sure your flat is fire safe

The Wokingham Paper - - SOCIETY -

WHETHER your land­lord is re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing your home fire safe de­pends:

on your ten­ancy agree­ment when your home was built if you have a pri­vate land­lord.

Talk to your land­lord first if you’re wor­ried your home wouldn’t be safe if there was a fire – for ex­am­ple if there aren’t enough smoke alarms. Make sure you re­port any­thing you think isn’t work­ing prop­erly.

If you’re a coun­cil ten­ant, your land­lord will be the lo­cal author­ity – check their web­site first. Some coun­cils have in­for­ma­tion about their fire safety plans on the home­page.

If you think your build­ing is un­safe ask your land­lord to do a fire safety test if you’re wor­ried about how safe the build­ing it­self is – for ex­am­ple the outer cladding. If they’ve done a fire safety test re­cently, ask for a copy. It’s best to ask in writ­ing and keep a copy. Send your land­lord a let­ter or email and in­clude: why you think your home is un­safe your name and ad­dress the date.

Also in­clude any spe­cific re­pairs that need do­ing – for ex­am­ple if a fire door doesn’t shut prop­erly.

If your land­lord won’t do a fire safety test find your lo­cal coun­cil’s de­tails on­line, and con­tact their ‘en­vi­ron­men­tal health de­part­ment’. Ex­plain that you’re con­cerned about fire safety, and that your land­lord has re­fused to ar­range a test. You should also let the de­part­ment know: what you’re wor­ried about how old you and any other ten­ants are

if you or any other ten­ants have a se­ri­ous ill­ness or dis­abil­ity.

The coun­cil can ar­range for an in­spec­tor to check your home for haz­ards – this is known as a ‘Hous­ing Health and Safety Rat­ing Sys­tem (HHSRS)’ in­spec­tion.

Con­tact your near­est Cit­i­zens Ad­vice if you want help ar­rang­ing the in­spec­tion – an ad­viser can help you write to the coun­cil and talk you through what to ex­pect.

If the coun­cil takes too long make a for­mal com­plaint to the lo­cal coun­cil about the in­spec­tion first. You can usu­ally find the process on your coun­cil’s web­site.

You can also con­tact your lo­cal MP – they might be able to con­tact the coun­cil for you.

If you’re still not sat­is­fied with the coun­cil’s re­sponse, you can com­plain to the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Om­buds­man – it’s their job to in­ves­ti­gate com­plaints about lo­cal coun­cils.

If the coun­cil think you need an in­spec­tion, they’ll send an in­spec­tor to check for safety haz­ards.

If the in­spec­tion finds any­thing dan­ger­ous, the coun­cil can force your land­lord to make your home safe.

You can get help, in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice from your lo­cal Cit­i­zens Ad­vice or visit www.cit­i­zen­sad­vice­wok­ing­ham.org.uk or con­tact Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Wok­ing­ham at Sec­ond Floor, Water­ford House, Erft­stadt Court, Wok­ing­ham RG40

2YF. Tel: 0300 330 1189. email: pub­lic@ cit­i­zen­sad­vice­wok­ing­ham.org.uk

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