Flats closed down due to serious risk of fire

Liverpool City Council has secured an emergency closure of privately rented flats due to serious concerns over fire safety.

Staff from the Landlord Licensing team inspected the property on Grey Road in Walton on Wednesday 27 September during a compliance visit, following concerns raised by councillors, police and neighbours over anti-social behaviour.

They found smoke detectors not working, problems with fire doors and a dangerous electricity meter.

The large semi-detached house is converted into six flats, and the team found that the automatic fire detection providing protection to the common areas of the property was defective and completely disconnected from the electrical supply. It would not have provided any warning of a fire in the property, and threatened to prevent tenants escaping from the upper floors.

The fire detection in some individual flats was not working, further increasing the risk in the property as a large blaze could have developed in an individual flat behind closed doors without being detected.

Defects with the fire doors would have meant that there was a risk that smoke and flames may block the escape route. Each door also required a key to open from the inside adding further escape time in the event of a fire, and missing self-closers would have meant they could have remained open in an emergency, further allowing smoke and fire to spread in the property. In addition, they found that the electrical meter had been bypassed meaning a risk from damaged and defective wiring.

Councillor Frank Hont, Cabinet member for housing, said: “This house was a potential death trap and was putting tenants at serious risk of injury, or even death. We used our powers under Landlord Licensing to inspect it and secured a closure order. We are determined to drive up the standard of private rented accommodation in this city and will not hesitate to take action when we find landlords putting their tenants at risk.”

Other problems included faulty heating, broken windows, damp and mould, as well as a poorly maintained exterior.

The council’s housing enforcement team secured a closure notice by the end of the day and the housing options service is supporting tenants into alternative accommodation.

The landlord will be instructed to carry out remediation work.