Vulnerable tenants still face fire risk: some of the UK's most vulnerable tenants are still at risk of death of serious injury from fire despite new safety measures proposed under the Housing Bill, the Local Government Association claims.(Fire safety: HMOs)

The association is calling for the fitting of sprinklers to be made compulsory in high risk bed sits and other houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). It warns that new powers to boost protection for HMO tenants do not do enough to counter the risk from domestic blazes, although statistics show that 35 per cent of all fire deaths and 39 per cent of all fire injuries occur in this type of accommodation. In 2001 alone, there were more than 22,500 fires in HMOs, with 116 deaths and more than 4,700 injuries.

The Housing Bill will put local authorities in charge of a licensing scheme to ensure greater protection for tenants of HMOs. The LGA is calling on Government to go further by giving local authorities the power to withold licenses unless sprinklers are placed in the highest risk properties and introducing a set of national tire safety standards for HMOs. …

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