Fire death prompts plea to landlords
Hounslow committed to inspecting 500 privately rented homes every year
The death of a 26-year old in a house fire in Cromwell Road, Hounslow, last week has led to the council to renew its call for landlords to make sure they are licensed.
Houses in multiple occupation (HMO’s) are properties with unrelated occupants, and those with four or more need to be licensed by the council to make sure they are safe to live in.
Following the fire, the fire service contacted the council with concerns about the safety of people living in an adjacent property.
The council inspected the property and found it to be an unlicensed HMO. It did not have the appropriate means of escape from fire, and there was no fire alarm system or fire fighting equipment.
Prohibition notices were placed on the property to prevent it being continued to be used as a residential property until suitable fire protection measures are in place.
Cllr Jagdish Sharma, leader of the council, said: "This is a shocking case, and we must do everything we can to avoid this happening again.
"We are committed to inspecting 500 privately rented homes every year to make sure they meet the required standards.
"The landlord of any property found to fall short of these standards can expect us to take strong action against them to make sure these homes are safe."
It is a criminal offence to operate an HMO without a licence, punishable on conviction by a fine of up to £20,000.
Tenants may also be able to reclaim up to 12 months rent during a period when the property has been rented out without the necessary licence.
August 18, 2011