Lewisham Council and Lewisham Homes do not inspect the inside of leasehold properties or make any necessary safety adaptations to your property. However under your lease we have the right to inspect the property with notice. This means you must ensure any fire risks are removed, for example:
- Do not store anything on balconies that could easily catch fire
- Do not overload electrical sockets
- Install smoke detectors and test them regularly.
The safety of your leased home is covered by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. To find out more about this and your responsibilities if you are a landlord please visit www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/housinghealth
As a homeowner one essential thing is to ensure that your front door is fire resistant. Fire doors are built to restrict and delay the path of a fire and will save lives. The communal doors in your block are fire doors. Lewisham Homes is responsible for these self-closing glazed doors in the corridors and staircases, however, the terms of your lease state the front door to your individual property is your responsibility.
Many homeowners, once they have bought their property, install a new front door. But have you considered if it is fire resistant? Lewisham Homes strongly recommends you have an assessment carried out on your door to see if it complies with current regulations for fire doors. Some, but not all, wooden doors are fire resistant, but in nearly all cases new UPVC or plastic doors are not sufficiently fire resistant. If the assessment shows your front door is not a fire door we would then strongly recommend you replace it with a new timber door made to British Standard 476: Part 22: 1987 or British Standard EN 1634-1: 2000.
If you would like advice on how to get your front door assessed for fire safety please contact our Health and Safety team on 020 8613 4290, alternatively you can call our freephone number 0800 028 2 028 and ask to speak to the Health and Safety team.
Metal security grilles
Some homeowners have installed metal security grilles across their front doors. However, if a fire starts in your block then the security grille will prevent you leaving the property, and the block, as quickly as you should. This danger would be even greater if the fire were to occur in your own property.
Advice from the London Fire Brigade is to remove any door grille and replace it with another form of security.
Some homeowners have fixed security grilles to a part of the building that remains part of the council’s responsibility, not part of their own property. Attaching grilles to Council property is not permitted and any found will be removed. If we remove a grille and you fit another one, you will be charged for the cost of the second, plus any subsequent, removals.
If you sub-let your property you have additional responsibilities and legal obligations to your tenants.
You should consider the risks to your tenants in the event of a fire and take all necessary precautions to minimise those risks. This includes you, as the landlord, installing smoke detectors. It is also your responsibility to test them – you cannot pass this responsibility onto your tenants.
It is important that Leasehold Services at Lewisham Homes have your contact details in the event of an emergency at your property. If you have already provided these details please make sure they are up to date, please see the top of this letter for Leasehold Services contact details.
If you sub-let your property please ensure your tenants are aware of the contents of the London Fire Brigade fire safety advice leaflet, which we have enclosed.
Fire safety advice:
- Keep communal areas clear
- Do not wedge open fire doors in the corridors
- Neverleave refuse sacks, bicycles, children’s buggies, plant pots, washing or other obstructions in communal corridors or walkways
- Keep all exits from your home clear so people can get out easily if there is a fire
- Do not store anything on a balcony that could easily catch fire and cause a fire to spread
- Do not overload electrical sockets and take care when cooking
- Make sure you stub out cigarettes fully and do not smoke in bed
- Install a smoke detector and test it regularly.