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Bradford councillor in smoke alarm appeal
A Bradford councillor claims people will die if tougher action is not taken with private landlords over fire safety.
Councillor David Gray, who is a member of the West Yorkshire Fire Authority, wants more tenants in privately-rented accommodation to be protected with smoke alarms.
He wants Bradford Council to introduce neighbourhood teams that would visit landlords and tenants to offer advice and ensure that landlords take their responsibilities seriously.
A similar scheme has been rolled out in Leeds where the Council there has teamed up with the fire service to form neighbourhood teams.
Coun Gray said: “I am concerned that lives are at risk. It is such an easy fix as well.
“For the sake of £10, are we prepared to risk the lives of a child, parent or a whole family?”
There are about 85,000 privately-rented properties in Bradford district, of which almost 78,000 are rented out by a private landlord or letting agency.
Fire Authority figures show that there were 94 fires – and two fire-related deaths – in privately-rented accommodation between September, 2011, and January this year.
Fewer than half of those properties affected – 45 – had a working smoke alarm. Of the 94 properties affected by fire, 64 did have a smoke alarm, but 19 of those did not work.
In the Bradford district last December there were three fires in privately-rented accommodation. None of the properties had a smoke alarm.
“It is imperative. The people who are at risk are vulnerable people. There’s a lot of children and single parents with children.
“We have a duty to these people to do this.”
Coun Gray said that under the 2004 Housing Act, Bradford Council has the power to force all landlords to carry out a fire safety risk assessment and fit the appropriate mechanisms.
He said: “Across West Yorkshire, 96 per cent of dwelling fire deaths occur in rented accommodation.
“Many of the private rented homes do not have adequate smoke alarms. Smoke alarms don’t cost much these days, They will help to save lives and properties.
“We have a large private rented sector in Bradford.
“Setting up Neighbourhood Teams like those being rolled out in Leeds would help to make sure that the number of injuries and deaths from fire will continue to fall.”