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19 April 2017
Landlords in Worcestershire have been threatened with court action for having properties without adequate fire safety provision, reports Worcester News.
An investigation launched by the local fire authority found defaults including obstructed exits, blocked gangways, broken fire detection systems and unsafe stairs.
The crackdown has led to 47 property owners being handed enforcement notices.
Councillors on the fire authority decided to use £60,000 from reserves last year to launch the investigation, with the project running until this July.
So far 234 homes have been identified as being 'at risk' of fire, including 157 flats above retail units or other businesses.
The clampdown started in August last year, with councillors severely criticising landlords for having "little regard" for tenants.
Fire authority chairman Councillor Derek Prodger said: "I support anything that saves people's lives and makes properties safer, clearly it was a good idea to invest this money.
"Our firefighters do such a rigorous job in fire prevention, but we've got to keep on top of it."
Councillor Richard Udall, who leads the Labour group on the authority, came up with the budget amendment to spend the money.
He said: "Clearly this project may have saved lives - it may have prevented fires and helped us avoid serious risks and injuries.
"Worcester has a lot of HMO properties, many haven't been licensed and a few absentee landlords have little regard for tenants' safety.
"We simply want to protect lives and prevent a disaster.
"Too frequently the fire service has found inadequate fire detection systems and blocked or obstructed fire exists."
Original sourceWorcester News