21 Apr Council clamps down on rogue landlords over fire safety
Landlords in Worcestshire have been threatened with a court action after it has been discovered some of their properties are lacking the correct fire safety provisions.
Obstructed exits, blocked gangways, broken fire detection systems and unsafe stairs were amongst some of the problems found when the local fire authority launched an investigation.
The crackdown has led to 47 property owners being handed enforcement notices.
The fire authority decided to use £60,000 from reserves last year in order to launch the investigation. With the project running until this July.
So far, the investigation has identified 234 homes ‘at risk’ of fire, this includes 157 flats above retail units or other businesses.
The landlords were described as having ‘’little regard’’ for tenants, by councillors working for the local fire authority.
Fire authority chairman Councillor Derek Prodger said: “I support anything that saves people’s lives and makes properties safer, clearly it was a good idea to invest this money.
Our firefighters do such a rigorous job in fire prevention, but we’ve got to keep on top of it.’’
Councillor Richard Udall, the leader of the Labour group on the authority, came up with the budget amendment to spent the money.
He said: ‘’Clearly this project may have saved lives – it may have prevented fires and helped us avoid serious risks and injuries.
“Worcester has a lot of HMO properties, many haven’t been licensed and a few absentee landlords have little regard for tenants’ safety.
“We simply want to protect lives and prevent a disaster.
“Too frequently the fire service has found inadequate fire detection systems and blocked or obstructed fire exists.”