Swindon AdvertiserTenants urged to fight for smoke detectors (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Tenants urged to fight for smoke detectors

RESIDENTS are being urged to contact their MPs to demand a change in the law so all privately rented accommodation must be fitted with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

As it stands, the law requires all privately rented properties built after 1992 to be fitted with the detectors, as well as multiple vacancy properties. However, this leaves many properties built before that date not covered.

The dangers of this were exposed recently after a coroner ruled fire victim Victoria Stockman, of Rodbourne, could have survived had there been a working alarm in the property she rented.

The government is now considering legislation to bring in a ban but Martin Wicks, secretary of the Swindon Tenants Campaign Group, says people should contact their MPs to put pressure on them, something supported by Wiltshire Fire and Rescue.

He said: “This is such an anomaly in the law which needs to be closed as soon as possible. I think most people would naturally assume that it was already law but for certain properties it is not.

“Landlords have a duty of care to protect their tenants so I don’t see how this can properly be done without smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

“The cost of installing a fire alarm is tiny when you consider it could save a life.”

It is estimated that 82 per cent of privately rented accommodation in the UK has an alarm and with an estimated 14,000 such properties in Swindon there is a potential for a lot of lives to be at risk.

Martin said: “The government are looking at this but the more people who let their MPs know the stronger the case will be.

“I have been in contact with our MPs who have said they will look into it but the more people who say something the more will be added to their argument.”

It is a sentiment which has been echoed by the fire service, who say many lives could be saved at such a small cost.

Station Manager Kathy Collis, of Wiltshire Fire and Rescue, said: “This is something we would urge people to do. We know that 38 per cent of people killed in domestic fires do so in properties without an alarm.

“We also want landlords who do have alarms to come forward and show the difference it makes having an alarm.

“It is such a small price to pay for something which could make such a big difference.”

Comments (5)

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4:09pm Sat 1 Mar 14

underdogs says...

Wiltshire Fire and Rescue - do I see complacency here on your part ? Maybe YOU should be pushing ALL the other agencies in respect of these fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms which after all only cost about £10 each and can be fitted with a couple of screws ?? Does anyone know if both of these alarms are now fitted in ALL council houses and flats , and in those owned by the many housing associations ? How much is a tenants life worth ???
Wiltshire Fire and Rescue - do I see complacency here on your part ? Maybe YOU should be pushing ALL the other agencies in respect of these fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms which after all only cost about £10 each and can be fitted with a couple of screws ?? Does anyone know if both of these alarms are now fitted in ALL council houses and flats , and in those owned by the many housing associations ? How much is a tenants life worth ??? underdogs
  • Score: 0

6:16pm Sat 1 Mar 14

brettsmum says...

What about personal responsibility? They are cheap enough to buy, why not buy your own?
What about personal responsibility? They are cheap enough to buy, why not buy your own? brettsmum
  • Score: 5

7:59pm Sat 1 Mar 14

knittynora says...

Isn't it the landlords responsibility to ensure that the house they are letting is safe? Rents are high enough in the private sector, so the cost of fitting alarms wouldn't break the bank.
Isn't it the landlords responsibility to ensure that the house they are letting is safe? Rents are high enough in the private sector, so the cost of fitting alarms wouldn't break the bank. knittynora
  • Score: -2

7:02am Sun 2 Mar 14

underdogs says...

brettsmum - many people living in 'social housing ' without children- who are ill, disabled or vulnerable exist if I may call it that on benefits as little as £60 a week so it is difficult enough to stay warm and eat etc on less than £9 a day. Far better for the landlord to make a one off payment of say £20 and spend maybe 10 minutes fitting both alarms in an approved position and provide a safer environment for his tenants ??
brettsmum - many people living in 'social housing ' without children- who are ill, disabled or vulnerable exist if I may call it that on benefits as little as £60 a week so it is difficult enough to stay warm and eat etc on less than £9 a day. Far better for the landlord to make a one off payment of say £20 and spend maybe 10 minutes fitting both alarms in an approved position and provide a safer environment for his tenants ?? underdogs
  • Score: -2

9:54pm Sun 2 Mar 14

Eastern Badger says...

Too many letting agencies do what they are 'required to do' rather than the gold standard. Tenants should expect both smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms as standard. Mine do.
Too many letting agencies do what they are 'required to do' rather than the gold standard. Tenants should expect both smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms as standard. Mine do. Eastern Badger
  • Score: 0

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