Landlords face stricter fire regulations in HMOs
2021 marked four years since the fire at Grenfell Tower in London. This disaster killed 72 people, and it should never have taken such an event of this scale to cause a change for better living and safety conditions. 2021 has also marked the start of long-overdue reform, where it is expected that we will witness significant changes to building safety regulations.
RIBA was already rallying for stricter building regulations before the Grenfell Tower disaster, as they wished to ensure public safety. However, the event certainly spurred some action. Whilst some effort has already been made, significant changes from the Fire Safety Bill and Building Safety Bill have also been made, which went to parliament in 2021.
Mr Sajjad Ahmad of the British Landlords Association said: “The new regulations are way overdue and are welcome news. We are keen to see the fine details when it is published. However, what financial implications these new regulations will have on some commercial landlords is unknown now. Commercial landlords are already financially challenged and may need government financial support for implementation.”
Property Managers, Landlords and letting agents of HMOs now face unlimited fines if changes are not made to follow the new Fire Safety Bill and Building Safety Bill. However, the new regulations will not apply to domestic properties but do apply to HMOs and multi-tenancy agreements. The exact details of these bills will be published this year.
As the new regulations come into effect, the Fire Safety Order will require fire risk assessments to be recorded for every building. This is thought to improve the fire safety information available and how it is handled throughout the lifetime of the building.
Fire Minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “Everyone should be safe in the buildings where they live, stay or work. Our new measures will improve fire safety and help save lives but will also take firm action against those who fail in their duty to keep people safe.”
And Roy Wilsher, the National Fire Chiefs Council Chair, added: “We want to see safer buildings for residents and are committed to working constructively with the Home Office and other partners on the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations and other key fire safety policy areas.”
The Government has stated that these new regulations should help:
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