Empty Property: Security

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 25th February 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Grender Baroness Grender Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk to property guardians in buildings owned by (1) the government, (2) local government, and (3) statutory bodies.

Photo of Baroness Grender Baroness Grender Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what risk assessment has been conducted on the dangers of breaches of (1) electrical safety, (2) gas safety, and (3) fire safety regulations for people living as property guardians.

Photo of Baroness Grender Baroness Grender Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the relevance of the Housing Act 2004 and its application to premises occupied by a property guardian.

Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The Housing Act 2004 is applicable to premises occupied as a dwelling by property guardians. Under the Housing Act 2004, local authorities have a legal duty to keep the housing conditions in their area under review and identify any action that may need to be taken. If local authorities are aware of properties in their area occupied by property guardians, they should consider inspecting these properties proactively to identify potential health and safety hazards. The Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) applies across all premises occupied as a dwelling, including guardian properties. If hazards are present, local authorities have tough enforcement powers.

Electrical safety, gas safety and fire safety requirements apply to all private rented sector properties including guardian properties when they are residential or used as a dwelling. Fire safety in all non-domestic premises, including the common parts of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), is covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The Government has not carried out a specific assessment of the risks to property guardians in buildings under different ownership. It is the role of local authorities to inspect and take action as required. The Government is reviewing information available to guardians and local authorities about their enforcement powers to make sure this happens.

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