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Private tenants’ lives are being put at risk by landlords who have failed to comply with new legislation and install smoke alarms in their properties, according to a new report.
The figures from the English Housing Survey showed that only 81% of households belonging to private renters had at east one working smoke alarm.
This was compared to an overall average of 88% across all households in 2014/15.
In October last year, legislation was passed mandating all private landlords install smoke alarms on each floor of their property or face heavy fines, up to £5000.
Despite offers of free alarms for private landlords run by many fire and rescue services, uptake has been slow according to London Fire Brigade.
London Fire Brigade’s Director of Operations, Dave Brown, said: “Unfortunately the private rented sector is an area where some of the capital’s more unscrupulous landlords operate and fire safety is not always top of their agenda.
“The properties they rent often don’t contain vital safety features, like fire doors and smoke alarms, and this can put lives at serious risk if a fire breaks out.
“Despite offering private landlords in London’s most at risk areas free smoke alarms, very few have come forward to take us up on the offer.”
Dave Green, National Officer of the Fire Brigades Union, said: “It is absolutely vital that every single home in the UK has a fire alarm fitted.
“We know that a fifth of all private renters don’t have a smoke alarm, which means their risk of dying in a fire is far higher than those who are protected in this way.
“They are cheap to buy and easy to install, and there simply isn’t any excuse for any household in the UK not to have one.”