The Royal Borough has some of the largest Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the country, with properties often comprising five or more storeys, and containing up to thirty dwellings. Tackling fire safety protects residents from unsafe conditions.
Compulsory licensing of HMOs was introduced by the Housing Act 2004. It applies to all privately rented HMOs that are three or more storeys high, occupied by five or more people who form more than one household, and where there is some sharing of amenities.
A programme of inspections takes place to tackle high-risk HMOs to ensure that means of escape and adequate fire safety measures are in place and to identify unlicensed HMOs.
There is an overlapping fire safety responsibility between the Council and the London Fire Brigade (LFB). Owners are required to carry out a fire risk assessment and make an emergency plan. The fire risk assessment is a systematic examination of the premises to identify the hazards from fire which must be recorded.
The Council enforces the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) in the private sector under the Housing Act 2004. The HHSRS is a ‘risk based’ assessment of the risks to safety from fire and other hazards. The Council has a range of enforcement powers to ensure that premises are made safe. Management Regulations in HMOs also impose requirements that fire safety measures are maintained.
Fire safety guidance
The following document contains guidance on how to keep residential buildings safe from fire. It also explains how to carry out a fire risk assessment and includes a range of case studies:
Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) [PDF] (file size 1.42Mb)