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Fire safety considerations when buying a home

6th April 2018

Images of the Grenfell Tower fire which took place in London in June 2017 demonstrate in graphic detail what can happen when effective fire prevention measures are not in place and inappropriate materials are used when a building is refurbished.

While fires on this scale are thankfully rare, the possibility of a fire occurring in any property is very real and is why fire safety is something you need to think about when buying a home, particularly where there are shared facilities or communal areas over which you do not have complete control.

As Julie Tomasik, director and residential property lawyer at Ansons Solicitors in Staffordshire explains:

‘The rules and regulations governing fire safety in residential properties vary significantly depending on the type of property you buy and when it was built or converted. Flats are much more heavily regulated than houses, with landlords and property managers usually required to carry out fire safety assessments and to implement measures to address any identified risks.’

‘Houses tend to be more difficult to deal with.  Depending on when the house was built, there may have been building regulations that needed to be complied with which imposed fire safety measures.  It may be if the house has been rented out at some point in the past that the landlord will have been obliged to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.’

Every property will be different and require careful consideration.

At Ansons Solicitors we always consider fire safety as part of the buying process and ensure that appropriate enquiries are carried out to determine the measures that are or should be in place to help prevent a fire occurring. This might include asking for confirmation that:

  • all building work has been carried out in accordance with building regulations requirements;
  • a fire safety assessment has been undertaken where necessary and any identified risks addressed;
  • any smoke or carbon monoxide alarms are working;
  • all fire safety equipment has been regularly tested, including sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers; and
  • any fire safety features, such as fire doors and fire escapes, are in good working order and free from obstruction.

For further advice on the things to consider when buying a house or buying a flat, please contact Julie Tomasik at Ansons Solicitors on 01543 267 988 or email jtomasik@ansonssolicitors.com.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only.  They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.  Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.