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Hayfever

Leaseholders getting sight of a a Freeholders Fire Risk Assessment?

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What rights do owner occupiers (leaseholders) have in relation to getting sight of a Freeholder's Fire Risk Assessment in residential flats?

Specifically, when a 'landlord' asks for new front doors, or any other work or alteration that may effect a leaseholder, can the leaseholder demand to see the FRA findings to ensure they aren't being being ripped off?

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Depending on the circumstance the FRA may not be recorded (written document) and only employees have to be informed of certain areas of the FRA. Consequently there may not be written FRA and you cannot demand to see the FRA findings, its up to the Responsible Person under the Fire Service Order. (owner,freeholder, landlord or managing agents)

Check out The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

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Thank you Tom

It does seem a little wrong that leaseholders can be charged for the costs of a FRA, and/or for the work that arises from the significant findings, but have no rights to see the report

When the leaseholders have been asked/told to replace their front doors,(for safety reasons) surely they come under Article 5(4) and are RPs in their own right??

(the RP in this case is a large local authority in London)

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Guest PeterMa

Hi Tom

I'm trying to sell my one bedroom leasehold flat in the London Borough of Newham. Some flats are occupied by tenants & others by leaseholders.The freeholder has not produced a Fire Risk Assessment two months after it was requested.

1. Do I have to have one to sell the flat?
2. Can I get one myself?
3. How much might it cost?
4. Who would do it for me?

Kind Regards

Peter

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Hayfever An interesting point.

Article 5 is about duties not defining RP’s and as they are not RP’s or employees then they have no right‘s to see certain areas of the FRA.

Also the flats are exempt from the RR(FS)O other than the front door and there has been cases where the tenants have refused to allow the landlord to work on their front door. However London FRS was not prepared to fight and one London borough has taken a tenant to court and won.

Charging is subject to the tenant agreements but I agree it does seem unfair and I am afraid this is one for the lawyer’s to fight about. What does surprise me is why they are reluctant to show the FRA.

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Peter, A flat is not subject to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 only the common areas which is the responsibility of the owner/freeholder, who is the Responsible Person as defined by the RR(FS)O. As the RP he/she has to conduct a Fire Risk Assessment by law and it can be recorded (written document) or not depending on the circumstances. So I am not sure how you intend to include a FRA in your selling pack other than an assurance that the common areas meet the requirements of the RR(FS)O.

If you got the authority to carry out a FRA in the common areas who is going to pay for any work that needs to be done, as required by the FRA and the cost could substantial.

You could contact the local Fire and Rescue Service who are the enforcing authority and get them to conduct an inspection which should chase up the freeholder.

http://www.firesafe.org.uk/uk-fire-rescue-services-details/

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Guest Kyle

Hello I am a lease holder in a detached house that has been converted into 2 flats the letting agent of the flat downstairs has told me I must let them install a smoke and fire detector by law I am a private residence and I own it, the only communal area is a 1 meter squared entrance way am I reqiured to let them in or can I say no? Ty

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You'd be mad to stop them installing something that could save your life (although are they going to bill you if you do let them?) but technically you can (subject to your lease of course which may give the freeholder rights to do this) - you need to know why they want to put them in from their FRA (there is a very slim chance the alarms are for the benefit of the whole property not just your flat in which case you could be forced to comply, but this is very rare)

.

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Guest Kyle

I'm the lease holder 90 years, the bottom of the stairs is my door and there's another door so the width is two doors, I have smoke alarms they want to put interlinked ones in the two flats and Bill me but my attic is boarded out so I will have to take it all up to run cables

thanks

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The interlinked detector is most probably a heat one, connected to the fire alarm covering the common areas and is designed to protect your neighbours if a fire should break out in your flat, when unoccupied. If you do not agree you could have an injunction served on you, to force you to comply but most people will agree for the sake of their neighbours and of course yourself if the fire is in another flat.

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Guest Ruth

Hello

For the purpose of selling our flat (leaseholders) we have has a FRA carried out on the communal areas (agreed by freeholder). The FRA has turned up a few issues in the communal areas. If the freeholder does not want to get them done as they are not legal requirements and would need agreement by all leaseholders, could this hold up our sale? Can we be held to account over things the freeholder won’t commit to doing?

Thanks

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Depends on the lender - if not down as legal requirements it's up to their opinion. Of course some findings in an FRA are required to met the functional requirements of the law, a good FRA will make clear which are required and which are just desirable.

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Guest Ruth

The FRA states “an automatic fire alarm must be installed to meet British Standards 5839 pt.1 2017 and pt6. 2019 and must extend to the individual flats”

The flats are owner occupied and therefore would require each owner to agree to this.

I can’t tell if this is required or desired. It sounds required to me but I’ve been informed that since the property is majority owner occupied this is a desired action.

Help please

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Ownership has no bearing on whether an action is desirable or required - if this is a required action then it would suggest (& the report should clarify this) that either the internal compartmentation or external cladding (or both) is inadequate and a full evacuate solution is required as mitigation until resolved (or permanently if it can't be).

A lender would be very reluctant to lend on a premises in this condition and for valuation the properties would be zero valued. If it is of such a condition that it requires such an extensive change in strategy and precautions failure to do so would be considered a breach of the legislation and be enforceable against the freeholder/TMC. It's possible (& has happened) in the worst cases a premises (including dwellings) can be served a Prohibition Notice and everyone has to move out.

The Housing Act applies to dwellings and can be used against individual dwelling owners to enforce actions required for fire safety - it's most commonly used to get unsatisfactory flat front doors changed & I've experience of sites where we've used that to get enforcement notices against leaseholders who wouldn't change their doors in a tower block.

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