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Landlord requesting exit door staying locked


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I am a small business owner, in a leased, shared building (three businesses on three levels).

We have had new instruction communicated from our landlord to keep the external door locked at all times 'due to Covid' however the external door is a Yale lock, this is the only route of exit save for a ground level window accessed from our factory.

I am concerned that the exit requiring a key is not appropriate - but who is liable for fire safety? Is it myself (we keep our doors unlocked when occupied for access), or the landlord who has given an instruction for the communal area?

Our relationship with the landlord is not good so I don't want to be seen causing trouble by asking our local fire station but I also do not want to run my business illegally or unsafely.

Just for clarification, each business has it's own internal door which are unlocked when occupied, the external door is the only point of access, although behind our door we have a tentative point of exit which would not be available to other residents if we were not in at the time. Previously the external door was left unlocked when the building was occupied and we have had no issues, it does NOT have a push to exit bar, standard Yale door lock only.

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  • Business changed the title to Landlord requesting exit door staying locked

I think COVID is being used as a tenuous excuse to do it for other reasons they'd rather not disclose. If you don't need a key to open the door in the direction of escape and it's just a simple single action mechanism to be used by less than 60 persons then it can be held as compliant.

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