A conscientious, professional landlord will fully understand that they have a duty of care to ensure the safety of their tenants.
This responsibility to ensure tenant safety is covered by criminal law and if an offence is committed landlords can face jail, heavy fines or both.
A recent incident in Blackpool serves as a strong reminder to all property landlords. The landlord called in local company to refurbish his existing fire alarm system. The specialist installer determined that it would be too costly to repair the alarm systems and even if they managed the complex repair, the system would not meet current regulatory requirements. They went on to specify a more cost effective and modern replacement system.
The landlord, obviously mindful of his duty of care responsibilities agreed with the recommendation and arranged for the new system to be installed.
At the apartment block, the installation of the new system was completed on a Friday evening and on the following Monday the system was actuated by a fire in one of the apartments. On entering this apartment, the other residents of the building found that the occupant had set fire to a duvet and, in an unsuccessful attempt to smother the fire, had rolled the duvet up. This made it difficult to tackle the fire with a conventional handheld extinguisher.
In this case the fire brigade had, however, been summoned and on arrival were able to deal with the problem quickly. Because the new system had detected the fire and sounded the alarm so promptly, damage was minor and was restricted to the apartment where the fire had occurred, and the occupant suffered no lasting ill effects
So just three days after it was installed and commissioned, the fire alarm system in this apartment block provided early warning of a fire, giving time for the building to be evacuated and the fire successfully extinguished without harm to the occupants of the premises. Had the fire occurred before the new alarm system was fitted, the occupants, who included small children, would have been put at serious risk of injury or even death.