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Local authority powers to take fire safety action

This content applies to England & Wales

Limited powers outside the Housing Act 2004 that local authorities have to take action on fire safety in other residential property .

Section 72 of the Building Act 1984

Local authorities have powers to require the provision of means of escape in case of fire in certain multi-storey blocks of flats, tenements and boarding houses under section 72 of the Building Act 1984, for example a restaurant or shop with sleeping accommodation above for people employed on the premises (they could also make a house in multiple occupation declaration under the Housing Act 2004). Where provision is inadequate the local authority must serve notice on the owner specifying what works are required to remedy the situation. Failure to comply with the notice is an offence.[1] The local authority can carry out the work itself and claim back the cost from the owner. This may mean that tenants direct their rent payments to the local authority until such time as the costs are repaid.

Environmental Protection Act 1990 and section 76 of the Building Act 1984

Local authorities can take action if there is a statutory nuisance – see the page on EPA remedies. If the problem requires faster action than the Environmental Protection Act 1990 procedure allows, then local authorities can by-pass those procedures and use the speedier procedure under section 76 of the Building Act 1984. There are also emergency procedures under the Housing Act 2004.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms (England) Regulations 2015

A local authority may serve a remedial notice on a landlord who has not complied with regulations requiring that a smoke alarm is installed on every storey containing living accommodation of a privately rented property.[2] Further non-compliance may result in the imposition of a penalty charge. See the page Smoke and carbon monoxide for more information.

[1] s.99(2)(b) Building Act 1984.

[2] Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms (England) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/1693.

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