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Reading a professional magazine, I was struck by a photo of a clear safety concern – a multi-socket stack with many plugs, some with frayed leads and clearly over-loading a socket that was not meant to accommodate so many plugs.
When I was providing training to landlords, this was something that a warning was always given about. The days are long gone when only one or two sockets in a room were all that was needed.
My advice then on this safety concern was to install more plug sockets to avoid over-loading the circuit and though a double plug, even triple, could be used per socket, more than that was a serious hazard. It is one reason I always recommend a regular safety check, to ensure that plugs are used appropriately to avoid the danger of a bad fire.
Landlords should be aware of this safety concern as an issue, but a recent fire safety advertisement shown on television expressed far more clearly than words can how easy it is to go from cosy and safe complacency to a raging inferno. There are several examples shown of how easily this can happen.
I know gas hobs are the preferred cooking medium for many accomplished chefs. They laud the speed of reaction, quick adjustment time. But in the advertisement, a pot towel is too near to the flame; the cook runs to the door and the pot towel catches fire. Yes, when the cook returns, the flame can be extinguished immediately, but the towel is still flaming and possibly igniting other items, such as curtains, kitchen towels etc.
Another safety concern is candles. They give a lovely, homely look, as well as often being scented to infuse the room with pleasant smells. The fashion seems to be to have multiple candles around a room. But does this tempt people to perhaps place some too close to soft furnishings? All may be safe whilst people are gathered in the room, but what of the visit to the bathroom, where draughts can cause a candle flame to leap and catch curtains or cushions? What of the candle that gets forgotten?
This advertisement is a good safety concern reminder to tenants; point it out to them, especially if you see candles on display on your safety visits, being vigilant to the position candles are in. Whilst fire is the main worry, melted candle wax can ruin carpets, candle flames can burn cupboards.
Tenants have the right to use candles and I don’t think you can deny them that, but you do have the right to expect them to use them cautiously and without damage to your property. You can always use LED candles – not quite as effective but a lot safer.
For advice on buy to let issues – Ask Sharon