More than half of UK private sector landlords have done checks since Grenfell fire

More than half of UK landlords have taken measures to check the fire safety of their buy to let properties in the wake of the deadly Grenfell Tower fire in London, new research shows.

Some 32% of private sector landlords have checked their fire alarms and 15% have instructed a professional to carry out a fire risk assessment, according to the survey for Simple Landlords Insurance.

Landlords of houses in multiple occupancy (HMO) and flats were amongst the most proactive over the last four weeks, with fire alarm checks being conducted in 50% of HMO properties and 35% of flats.

These types of properties also saw a higher than average number of professional checks, with 39% of HMO and 22% of flats being visited for professional assessments.

Other measures taken by landlords included checking construction materials and contacting the freeholder regarding fire safety checks. Some 17% of landlords also said that they had installed a carbon monoxide alarm.

Perhaps unsurprisingly with Grenfell on their doorstep, landlords in London were the most responsive of all the geographic regions polled. Some 72% reported having taken at least one action following the fire, compared with just a third of landlords in Wales.

One area of concern uncovered by the survey, however, was gas safety. Whilst every landlord questioned said they had conducted a gas safety inspection at their property, only 83% said that it had happened within the last 12 months.

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 4% said it had been more than three years since their last gas safety inspection.

‘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,’ said Alex Huntley, head of operations at Simple Landlords Insurance.

‘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 and fire and gas safety must never be left to chance,’ she added.

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