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  • HMO & Multi-Lets

    HMO fire escape to the garden

    I have applied for a HMO license in my borough in London.

    It is a 6 bed property, all the bedrooms are bigger than 6.52m2, it has a huge kitchen diner, 2 bathrooms + separate toilet. Fire safety is good. Everything should be good when inspected by the HMO officer, although I'm sure I will of missed a few bits which I will happily rectify. 

    One thing that I am concerned about is a bedroom on the ground floor. It has a window and it has a door which leads to the garden. So the fire escape for that room is the door to the garden. So far so good. However, the garden itself has no gate. It is a terraced house and once you're in the garden the only way out of the garden is back through the house. 

    Therefore does that mean the bedroom on the ground floor does not have an adequate fire escape route? 

     

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    I have just read the Larcos guide about this in case anyone else has the same issue:

    The window or door should lead to a place of
    ultimate safety, clear of the building. However, if
    there is no practical way of avoiding escape into a
    courtyard or back garden from where there is no
    exit, it should be at least as deep as the building is
    high.

    My garden is not as deep as my house is high. It seems like a shame I will have to inform the tenant on the ground floor they will have to move out when their contract is up as the garden is too small. 

    Any thoughts or experience with this?

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    Are we talking really small courtyard nose pressed up against the house still - or is there a decent but not quite meeting the recommendation gap......

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    DISCLAIMER just my personal opinion - for legal advice consult a qualified professional grown-up.

    No, the garden is 5m in depth..

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    can't there be a protected escape route to the FED?

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    This is not in London but in my HMO I have a ground floor bedroom with an escape window which opens onto the garden which then leads from there onto the street and even has not been accepted by the inspector as a means of escape  -  they state that in case of fire the tenant would have to escape out of their room via the fire door and out through the kitchen which therefore will have to have a sprinkler system installed.

    It seems as though every officer and every local authority have their own interpretation of LACORS, the situation is ridiculous but no matter how ridiculous their demands are they are in a position of power and they can withhold the licence if they so wish.


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    Thanks for that. So the bedroom you are referring to, the 2 escape routes are:
    1. Via the window to the garden, or
    2. Via the kitchen then through the house?

    Is so, the issue I think is more because the tenant would have to escape via the kitchen, which is the most likely place a fire would start.

    For my room in question the tenant can either escape via the door to the garden, or into a hallway to the front door. 

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    Yes the tenant in that room could exit either through their door into the kitchen or through their ground floor escape window out into the garden so in case of fire it would be impossible for them to be trapped.

    Common sense would tell me that if there was a fire in the kitchen they would not then choose to exit through there but would go through the compliant ground floor escape window?

    LACORS does state that ideally there would be a protected escape route but an alternative safe route should be acceptable.  It is not a prescriptive set of measures that must be taken it is a guide and it emphasises that everything should be taken into account in a fire risk assessment  -  alternative means of escape, are the tenants disabled or able bodied, is the layout of the building simple etc.

    As I said earlier the problem is that an inexperienced inspector may, to cover their own back insist on 20 storey tower block type regulations being in place even if the building is a bungalow.


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    Can you create a gate in the wall of the courtyard

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