St Albans MP Daisy Cooper seeks amendments to Fire Safety Bill to protect leaseholders
PUBLISHED: 10:31 03 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:35 03 July 2020
St Albans MP Daisy Cooper has tabled amendments to the Fire Safety Order to help protect leaseholders living in homes with dangerous cladding similar to that of Grenfell Tower.
The MP joined the Fire Safety Bill Committee following discussions with constituents such as Chris and Lisa Rogers, who have raised concerns about the potentially dangerous cladding on Opus House in Charrington Place, as well as the financial implications for them as leaseholders.
The Fire Safety Bill proposes changes to the Fire Safety Order 2005 to clarify who is responsible for managing and reducing the risk of fire for the structure and external walls of flats and similar buildings, including cladding, balconies and windows, entrance doors and fire doors.
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Daisy Cooper tabled amendments to the bill, which was reviewed line by line by the Fire Safety Bill Committee last week before returning to the full House of Commons to be voted into law.
Her proposed amendments sought to encourage the government to set out who should take financial responsibility for essential fire safety work and set up a public register of fire risk assessments so would-be renters and owners can check the fire safety status of their potential new home, such as the one used to register domestic Energy Performance Certificates.
It also looks to establish a public register of fire risk assessors so home owners can verify that fire assessors are qualified to conduct compulsory checks, and enable government and industry to assess the numbers required to be trained.
Ms Cooper said: “Thousands of leaseholders and tenants up and down the country are being kept in a permanent state of anxiety while waiting to hear whether their property is safe. On top of that individual leaseholders are facing bills of up to £20,000 per flat for remedial work and hikes in their service charges. Many are unable to sell while the uncertainty persists.
“The First Safety Bill should empower the fire and rescue services to take enforcement action and hold building owners to account. I am pleased that by speaking up for leaseholders, I have secured commitments from the government to introduce important fire safety registers, albeit at a later stage, and to provide ministerial-level clarity that big housing owners should not shirk their responsibility and pass the financial buck to leaseholders.”
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