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'Landlords supply' for L2 system necessity/legality


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TLDR: is there a legal requirement to have a landlords supply to power an L2 alarm system? 

Mornin'. We're under the cosh from an iffy managing agent. I'm one of four leasehold flats in a three story Victorian semi, converted to flats in the mid 1980s. It's an HMO for fire/health/safety purposes. Apologies if this is more of an 'HMO' forum question.

Ryefield board, meters etc are the external steps to the main front door. At present, I'm supplying electricity to the common parts from my aged metal CU (conveniently situated above the door to my flat, ie inches from the common parts). Bit of a mishmash... a PIR porch light and associated immersion timer appears to be spurred from a double socket in my livingroom (which makes 'geographical' sense); the entryphone / door release and the hallway lights have a dedicated fuse on my CU.

Over two years ago now, a fire/health/safety inspection identified the need for alarms and emergency lighting in the common parts. This has been batted back and forth between the managing agent (MA) and the leaseholders, with at least two Section 20 notices being issued and quietly forgotten about. The MA now sprung the following on us:

a) a notification that Company X is the cheapest quote for the alarm, and a request for immediate(ish) payment

b) a mystery report conducted by Company Y containing the words "The installation appears to be taken power from one of the individual flats. Is our opinion that, due to the absence of landlord supply, that is essential to feed the emergency services, a new landlord system is required. The Mains Power System is taken into accounts, the requirements for Landlord Lights & Power and therefore an application for meter will be required immediately after works. Please see attached the scope of works required to bring the property in line with current regulations." The 'scope of works' looks... daunting!

Firstly, we supplied quotes from a British Fire Consortium member who does a lot of work in the area. Was significantly more expensive than Company X, because it included replacing my CU and spurring another unit from my CU into the hallway for isolation etc etc. Company X are basically the MA's pet sparks, who AFAIK have no specialist fire alarm knowledge, and who I believe are far too cozy with the MA. Our quote seems to have been completely disregarded.

Company X's quote made no mention of how the alarm was to be powered. This is obviously addressed by Company Y's report. 'Curiously', Company Y (incorporated this summer!) share an address/directors with Company X. 

So in our case Company Y's recommendation of a landlords supply is effectively subsidising the headline cost of Company X's fire alarm quote; more generally getting leaseholders to pay for unsolicited reports which generate billing for a sister company seems like a nice money spinner!

But back on topic: the system (as proposed by the BFC member) is basically detection/sounders and emergency lighting in the common parts and just inside the front doors of the three flats off the common parts, plus detection/sounder run to the basement flat. I believe that two years ago it was described as an L2 system, if that still applies in 2020.

The big question: is there a legal requirement to have a landlords supply for such an alarm system?

I am perfectly happy to continue to pay for electricity to the common parts; the other residents are happy to contribute to my shiny new CU as part of the works in return for their 'free' electricity. A metered landlords supply will be monetised by the MA: the electricity bill may be at charged at cost, but I can guarantee there'll be additional 'management fees' attached.

Is it legal to continue to supply the common parts from my CU (with spurred CU in common parts to provide isolation)?

Alternatively, is it legal to spur power from the supply to my flat before it reaches my CU? The cabling is easily accessible in a boxed riser in the common parts. This would mean I can switch off my supply whenever I fancy it; as long as I continue to pay my electricity bill the alarm system will be powered. And I suspect (hope) there's more of a chance of the MA going bust or to prison than there is of me having my electricity disconnected!

Any advice gratefully received.
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The biggest issue with no common electricity supply is where the tenants are all on prepayment meters as there is the risk of an extended period of power loss to the system where a resident cannot afford power.

However the answer to that is to provide extended back up power supplies beyond the 72 hours normally provided.

As you aren't prepayment there isn't this issue and whilst using a landlord supply is preferred it's not a legal requirement and a tenant feed could be used as long as they are recompensed for the usage.

As for spurring off your feed that's one for an electrician to answer!

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