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Window lock but no key - legal?


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Hi everyone

I've just discovered this forum, and I think it might be the very place where I can have an important question answered, so here goes.

I live in a housing association property which consists of around 45 flats all under one roof, with shared corridors, lounges, etc. Residents are all over 55 and some are very old and frail. There are two stories, and mine is one of the upstairs flats. Recently, a housing officer noted that one or two of the windows in the upstairs corridors  were being accidentally left open at night, and I think he was worried about possible intruders. All he would have had to do was warn us of this, and I know I for one would have taken care to shut them at night (I like to have the window in the corridor just outside my flat open in the daytime as otherwise it gets stuffy and smelly, but I've no problem in closing it at night before I turn in).

However, I've just noticed that instead of doing this, the housing officer has locked the upstairs windows, but not given anyone the key. I am very unhappy about this, but previous experience with this HA has taught me that if it decides it wants to do something, it will just not listen to a tenant's objections. What really worries me, though, is the fire safety aspect of this. It is not likely that anyone would need to use these windows to escape a fire, but it is possible. I know from looking at fire safety regulations that window locks are allowed in upstairs windows, but is a landlord allowed to lock them and not leave a key within easy reach? Thank you.

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If these windows are in common areas then it is most likely they are not required for escape windows, depending on the means of escape, and therefore can be locked. It is only the windows in habitable rooms in the flat need to be escape windows again depending on the means of escape.

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AB is correct windows may require to be openable for smoke control purposes but firefighters have their own way of providing ventilation if necessary, I have done it many times.

The problem is, the means of escape in flats use a concept called smoke dispersal and other premises use smoke containment. In smoke dispersal you get rid of the smoke as it enters the escape route, smoke containment you hold the smoke in the smallest area of the escape route. The problem is in flats you sometimes have both, although ventilation very useful it is not always necessary therefore not knowing the layout of the building it is difficult to give a definitive answer.

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  • 6 years later...
Guest Simon Turnbull

I live in HMO. I live upstairs and open bathroom window because heat rises and so dose the smell of her food. I open window to allow fresh air and get rid of the smell off food in our room. She keeps closing it and now the bathroom window has been locked by key. Is this allowed????

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A bathroom window has nothing to do with a fire risk.

On a personal note, I would say you do not know why the window is shut, by the same token I would say she does not know why you keep opening the window. Perhaps the two of you should speak to each other.



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