The third anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire will fall in June 2020. Since the tragedy, landlords who own property in tower blocks all over the UK are on higher alert. What lessons can landlords learn from the disastrous fire at Grenfell Tower?
Full records of completed works should be retained by landlords, to include details of costs, reasoning and specific details of the requirements and implementation. There should be no gaps in the sequential records made.
Landlords and tenants need to be aware that containing any outbreak of fire is critical, and any breach present in shared or external walls can make fire spread more quickly. Such breaches can be caused by plumbing or electrical works, such as running gas pipes or TV wires within walls.
These should be undertaken annually by qualified inspectors, to ensure there are no breaches of containment or safety regulations.
Some form of on-site management is vital so that secure conditions can be maintained. Individual landlords can then impose basic safety standards within each flat and in communal areas, particularly stairwells.
Where lives are potentially at risk, there can be no cost shortcuts. Short-term savings in obtaining poor quality materials and work can lead to a drastic increase in long-term costs to landlords, as well as tenants.
Listening to tenants
Tenants should have their concerns regarding maintenance and safety heard, as they often know best about past works and the behaviour of other tenants. They can thus be a valuable source of information to landlords.