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Wondering what the legal stance is against Landlord or Tenant, should the worse happen, when the tenant has deactivated the installed Fire Alarm system. Or in fact the same as removing batteries from smoke alarms etc?
This specific query relates to my multi-let. I provide a key to the control box so that the tenants can silence and reset the system in the event of false alarms. It happens a lot whilst they are cooking apparently. I do ask that they notify me at each event but of course, they don't.
I suspect the solution is to remove the key and have an outside company call and reset the alarm at whatever cost that may be.
Any thoughts or experience of this, anyone?
Several thoughts spring to mind. If tenants are complaining about regular false alarms when they are cooking, it suggests there could be problems with the design or maintenance of your mains wired fire alarm system. You should have a heat detector (not smoke detector) in the kitchen and the smoke alarm in the hallway should ideally be away from the kitchen door. Plus, the system should be inspected and tested by a fire alarm engineer at least every 12 months, plus regular weekly or monthly tests depending on the type of system - there might be a faulty detector.
If that's all been checked and is ok, arrange to speak to all the tenants to try and understand what the problem is, whilst also explaining why the system must not be tampered with to avoid endangering their safety. Under the HMO management regulations, if the landlord doesn't maintain the system and if the tenants tamper with an otherwise compliant system, both may be committing an offence.
Richard Tacagni MCIEH CEnvH
London Property Licensing
This information is intended as general advice and guidance. It is not legal advice and should not be taken or relied upon as such. No liability can be accepted for any reliance on the information published in this response. You may wish to obtain independent legal advice.
100% agreed about the heat detector, not smoke detector in the kitchen.
Thanks guys for your replies.
Everything you say is already being done and, the install was carried out professionally, we have a heat sensor in the Kitchen, not smoke etc.
I think my solution will be to put another laminated sign up, on the control box, to remind them to reset and the consequences etc. It seems that HMO tenants, live by signs "use the chopping boards"; don't yank the fridge door and break it"; "don't put rubbish down the loo" etc etc.
As you have a lockable control box, it sounds like you have a Grade A system. I would suspect that by giving keys to this control box to non-qualified people you will be in breach of various fire safety legislation.
If you have heat detector in the kitchen, surely the fire doors are stopping smoke getting out?