Sompting property owner ordered to fix ‘fire hazard problem’ at flat

Hamilton Mews in Sompting
Hamilton Mews in Sompting

The owner of a first floor flat in Sompting has been told by a tribunal that he must make improvements to his property to remove health and safety risks.

The owner of the property in Hamilton Mews, Cokeham Road, Sompting, was appealing an enforcement notice served by Adur and Worthing Councils involving access to a first floor bedroom.

Officers from the councils’ Private Sector Housing team inspected the flat in February and found that the bedroom could only be accessed through the kitchen, a spokesman for the council said.

As kitchens are the most likely place for fires to start, if a fire broke out, this would leave the occupants trapped in the bedroom, the spokesman said.

The council worked with the property owner to explore options to resolve the problem, including applying for council grants, but the landlord insisted that leaving via the first floor bedroom window was ‘a safe means of escape’, according to the spokesman.

Although the window met building regulations, jumping from a first floor window presented a hazard under the Housing Act 2004 and was not considered a safe exit route, especially for older people or parents with young children, confirmed the spokesman.

The First Tier Tribunal (Residential Property) in Havant upheld the council’s view that the window was not a safe means of escape, the council said.

The landlord now has until January 2020 to complete the work or face prosecution or a fine.

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