Campaigns Environment, Safety and Standards

Government fire safety advice? Call the landlord

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

The government has published advice for tenants and residents concerned about the fire safety of their building – telling them if they are worried to call their landlord.

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy the RLA has been campaigning for a full review of fire safety regulations across all residential properties – and also for greater clarity from the government when it comes to landlords’ responsibilities regarding fire safety and standards.

The complexity of existing rules and regulations are further complicated by the confusion over who has responsibility for what in tower blocks, with a web of relationships between owners and freeholders, building managers, owner occupiers, social tenants, PRS tenants and lawful and unlawful subletters.

Now, as the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) advises landlords are the first port of call, the RLA is asking for urgent action from the government in terms of official, clear and concise advice on what landlords themselves must do next.

The new DCLG advice for tenants, states:

If you have any concerns regarding the safety of your building, you should:

  • in the first instance, contact your landlord or building owner
  • if you are still concerned or not receiving the reassurance you feel you need, you should then contact your local authority or local fire and rescue service for advice
  • you can also contact the Department for Communities and Local Government building safety team by emailing: housingchecks@communities.gsi.gov.uk

It also includes a list of webpages with fire safety information.

In addition to campaigning for a review following the devastating tragic Grenfell Tower blaze, the association has met with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid and has written to Ministers flagging up the issues.

The new Housing Minister Alok Sharma has agreed to meet with RLA representatives and Mike Kane MP has referenced the RLA’s concerns in Parliament.

The RLA helped DCLG contact landlords, and owners and managers of PRS blocks to promote the call for urgent safety checks to be carried out and attended a summit held by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham on fire safety in high rise buildings.

Representatives have also spoken in the media about issues with existing rules and regulations, with RLA Vice Chairman Douglas Haig working with other industry experts on a radio package for BBC 5live explaining where responsibility lies regarding fire safety in tower blocks.

The RLA has produced its own overview of fire safety in the PRS, which can be accessed here.

It has also launched a new online fire safety course for landlords who want to learn more about their fire safety obligations and how to conduct fire risk assessments. For more information and to book click here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

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