Converting an existing property into a series of self-contained flats or bedsits can be an excellent way to boost rental income, especially in areas close to higher education institutions where large numbers of students are seeking good-value accommodation.
Both landlords and developers who are new to this type of property need to be fully aware of the additional fire risks that are part and parcel of multi-occupied houses. Studies suggest that occupants of houses in multiple occupation are six times more likely to die in a fire than occupants of a single-family house. The higher the number of tenants, the greater the risk.
Failing to ensure proper fire safety measures have been installed in such properties can have serious consequences for those responsible. Landlord Garreth Wilson was recently jailed after failing to deal with fire safety hazards in a block of shared student flats in a suburb of Bristol, even after a blaze broke out.
No one was injured during the original blaze but a number of students had to be rescued. Following an investigation, Wilson was found guilty of breaching fire safety regulations and was given a suspended sentence. When the properties were re-inspected five months later, Wilson had not carried out a fire risk assessment, fire escape routes were insufficient, and safety equipment had not been properly maintained. He was jailed for six months and ordered to pay more than £12,000.
Water sprinklers are among the most effective forms of fire suppression; however, the cost of fitting traditional systems is usually prohibitive and may not suit certain types of property. Automist systems, on the other hand, provide a highly-effective alternative to sprinklers and can be fitted to a standard sink unit. Automist creates a mist-like water spray that can protect rooms of up to 32 square metres. In some circumstances Automist can even be used in lieu of a fire door. A range of fire protection solutions are available.
Such systems are particularly effective in properties with multiple sources of ignition, such as cookers, heaters and Boilers. Often in shared accommodation students will need extra heating to dry their clothes and a fully serviced boiler is essential to keep the whole area warm. If it’s an older property it might need a completely new system. For a Boiler Installation Gloucester company try sites such as https://redbridgeandsons.co.uk/heating-systems-gloucestershire/boiler-installation-gloucester/.
where the kitchen is being shared between multiple occupants, many of whom may have little experience of cooking can increase the risk of an accidental fire being started.