Making sure your flat is fire safe
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