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UK tenants feel at risk in their own homes

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New research from digital construction solution providers, Zutec and Createmaster, revealed that almost two thirds of UK non-freehold tenants donnot feel safe in their homes, with only 39% responding they felt ‘very safe’ in their property.

Two fifths (41%) of 2023 respondents state they have observed fire safety hazards in their building, including non-existent or faulty sprinkler systems, fire alarms or extinguishers and fire escapes being locked or blocked.

Commenting on the findings, Emily Hopson-Hill, Zutec’s Chief Operating Officer said: “This figure was an improvement on 18 months ago, where over two-thirds (68%) had observed or experienced fire safety issues in their building, it indicates asset owners still have some way to go until to go to assure residents they’re safe in their properties.

“Whilst it’s also encouraging to see that only 2% of respondents felt unsafe, the majority (46%) responded they felt ‘somewhat safe’, implying a lack of confidence in feeling totally insulated from risk. In the post-Grenfell era it’s a little disappointing, given the mounting regulatory pressure placed on residential property owners and managers to make significant upgrades and improvements, particularly in relation to fire safety.”

The research assessed tenants perceptions of fire safety in their own building, how the asset owner ensured correct protocol, how well this was communicated to residents and how efficiently they responded to the raised issue.

Fire safety awareness

Tenant and leaseholder awareness of correct fire safety procedures, and who is responsible for them, has increased, with an 90% knowing who to approach with their concerns. Furthermore, 22% more 2023 respondents said communication from their asset owner or property manager was excellent (43%), compared with 2021 levels

However, respondents flagged a lack of consistency in the information provided by their landlord. For instance, four in 10 (43%) residents have not seen any fire safety certificates in their building, whilst 44% indicated access to fire safety certificates, rising 11% from 18 months ago.

Slow to respond

Just over a fifth (21%) said that the party responsible for maintenance responded quickly when safety-related issues were raised. When asked about the extent to which they felt their voice was being heard concerning fire safety and maintenance issues, less than a quarter (22%) felt ‘very satisfied’, and 12% even went as far as responding they were dissatisfied. 

In other areas the services provided by asset owners have improved, with 70% of tenants saying they felt generally satisfied with the overall service received from their asset owners or landlords.

Hopson-Hill added: “Overall the findings do show clear improvements in available and accessible building information, and the results show developers and asset owners are regaining trust with tenants.

“However, data discrepancies remain, residents are becoming increasingly aware of their landlord’s responsibilities and, rightly, expect to live in safe homes. Property owners must now step up and embrace the new regulatory landscape, or get left behind as fire-safe guarantees become non-negotiable for existing and future assets.”

To learn more about how Zutec’s solutions can help you with targets set out by the UK Government click here. Find more about digital handover with Creatmaster here.

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