A critical part of our job as a letting agent, in fact it is probably the most important part, is our commitment to safety in all our properties.
And when it comes to protecting tenants the most crucial aspect is fire safety. Fire kills and the need to reduce risk and to adhere to regulations is essential.
As this recent news story highlights, the potential consequences of fire can be significant. For landlords and letting agents it can mean fines and damage to their reputation, but that is nothing compared to the risk to tenants of injury and even death
This story reminds agents, landlords and tenants of the need to understand the law and ensure that all necessary licensing and safety protocols are in place. The repercussions of any incident do not stop with a conviction. The local council in this case has determined that the agent ‘is not a fit and proper person’ and is seeking to revoke their licence. This sanction could just as easily apply to landlords in similar circumstances.
That is why in our Code of Standards for Shared Student Housing, for landlords we insist on fire doors, which are not required by Leicester City Council, but do provide an additional level of safety helping to prevent the spread of fire. We also insist on regular fire alarm checks, regular smoke alarm checks and clear routes of escape.
Sometimes this commitment to high safety standards can cause tension with our landlords as it incurs cost and takes time, but the impact of poor fire safety can be devastating, so we make no excuse for wanting to keep our tenants safe.
This can also help landlords. Once the fire safety elements are in place and the regular checks are set up, then they benefit from knowing that tenants will choose safe, well managed properties. It also reduces the prospect of prosecution and all the cost and time that would come with that.
Risks can never be totally removed, but where fire is concerned, they can be significantly diminished, and the chances for occupants to escape can be increased, if sensible management practices are put in place. That is why the Sulets Code of Standards for Shared Student Housing, is an essential part of our relationship with landlords.