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Door as fire exit due to mobility problems

Guest JKis

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Guest JKis

Dear Sir/Madam
I am 75, suffer with severe Angina and some mobility problems. I live in a Very Sheltered House (12 rooms/12 residents) which is on 3 levels. My room is on the top (2nd level) and to go out I use what used to be the main entrance door of the house when it was a private villa on the level below. There are steps down from this door to street level.
On the lowest, below street level are the communal areas and some bedrooms and the side door is used now as the ‘Main Entrance’, with some steps to path then an incline (20%, a guess) to street level. I use this coming back into the house, ‘downhill’ from street level.
However, the landlord decided that I was not to use the exit comfortable to me and put an alarm on it which goes off every time I leave the building. It is switched off by staff. The argument is that it is a ‘fire exit’ and can only be used ‘in case of fire’ whereas I view it as a door (it self-locks and cannot be opened from the outside), one that matches my specific disability requirements not to exert as I have to leaving by the side door.
After several weeks, the landlord, I am told by staff, is ‘locking the door’ so wiring it or whatever that it will only be able to be opened in case of fire. This to me is dangerous – what if it does not open in case of fire?!
Please advise me as to what the appropriate rules are (not manipulable by landlord’s whim) so I am spared the exertion to street level every time I want to go out. What I would also ask you is to please do not insult me by referring me back to the landlord. Thank you.

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The argument that it is a ‘fire exit’ and can only be used ‘in case of fire’ is a misnomer however the landlord can lock fire exit doors providing they can be opened immediately, without the need of a key, in the event of a fire in the premises. It all depends on how he/she intends locking the exit door, there are certain requirements to be followed to ensure it is not dangerous and will open in case of fire.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Dear Tom

Apologies for not thanking you for your response earlier; I wanted to see what the landlord does which is now done:

a magnetic lock at the top of the inner door ... but of course there has to be an Emergency button, so I simply press that and the door opens into small vestibule and I exit the outer door. However, for whatever reason he removed the self-locking Yale and as the only other lock locks on/from the inside, the door remains open until staff come up and turn it locked.

He has not finished, for some reason he is really 'locked' into my defying his 'order' not to use the exit that 'matches my disability needs'.

Best regards,


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Jonathan he had to remove the yale lock because there would have been two locks which is not acceptable for an emergency exit. The rest is a disagreement between you and the landlord nothing to do about fire safety.

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