Following a number of high profile events relating to building safety globally this year, fire safety and other building concerns have been a pressing and urgent issue for landlords and management companies.
This has meant that a review has been underway across many of the UK’s high rise buildings, including buildings of multiple occupation. This, of course, has included student accommodation as many of the Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) properties house hundreds of students.
According to PropertyReporter, Total Landlord Insurance has issued a warning to students and their landlords over fire hazards in rented properties, as latest figures reveal that 24% of high value claims (over £20,000) have been as a result of a fire.
Apparently the biggest cause of these claims is smoking cigarettes indoors. Other issues include candles, appliances left on, overuse of extension leads, deep fat fryers and portable heaters.
The causes for this, apparently, are that many students have moved into accommodation for the first time and often aren’t savvy in fire safety, meaning that hazards and accidents are highly likely. Education and information provided to students who have recently moved out of their parents homes are part of the solution, according to the conductors of the research.
Quoted in the same article, Eddie Hooker, CEO of Total Landlord Insurance said: “It’s easy for students to get caught up in the excitement of living on their own, but all it takes for a fire to start is a moment of negligence. We all know that fires can be devastating, not only to properties but to human lives and yet many wouldn’t happen if tenants took simple preventative measures, such as not leaving cooking unattended, not overloading plug banks and ensuring cigarettes are properly extinguished.”
Further to this, however, landlords need to be reminded of their responsibilities when it comes to fire safety, with the proper checks and inspections done, as well as ensuring that the right anti-fire measures have been implemented. Furthermore, proper fire procedures such as test evacuations, meeting points and extinguishers should all be well established.
Total Landlord Insurance have issued a check list of ten things to check as a student landlord.
1. Smoke outside the property
2. Avoid lighting candles
3. Check that sockets are not overloaded
4. Do not use electric heaters for drying clothes or towels and keep flammable materials like oven mitts and wooden utensils away from cooking areas and heaters.
5. Keep escape routes clear and do not prop fire doors open
6. Unplug all appliances when not in use, do not just switch off – particularly phone chargers and hair straighteners
7. Ensure there is a fire blanket in the kitchen
8. Regularly check smoke alarms are working
These, it is hoped, will minimise the risk, although it should also be noted that ensuring your property is managed by a reputable agent will also help to ensure that fire safety is a priority.
Newer buildings don’t face the same sorts of issues, of course, with the majority of newly built student properties adhering to all current fire safety regulations.