Private landlord owned high-rise buildings in Wales are being extended the offer of free cladding safety tests following the Grenfell fire.
The Welsh government has contacted landlords under Rent Smart Wales to inform them that they have access to the same tests offered to the social housing sector. The move comes following the tragedy that occurred in Grenfell Tower, when a fire became needlessly fatal through flammable cladding.
Whilst there is no legal requirement for private landlords to undertake the tests on their properties, Wales’ Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has urged them to ‘take action’ after a number of tower blocks have been found to be combustible through cladding panels across the country. The epidemic was discovered by government experts following investigations after the Grenfell fire.
In an email to Rent Smart Wales landlords, the Welsh government has explained that it is trying to contact private landlords of all residential blocks which were seven storeys or higher.
It said: ‘We are now working with local government with a view to ensuring those living in private sector high rises are equally protected from any unnecessary risk. Please be assured that as an owner of a unit or units within such a building no direct action in relation to the cladding is necessary on your part. You may of course wish to reassure yourself and your tenants of other general fire safety.’
Vice chairman and director of the RLA in Wales, Douglas Haig, commented: ‘The fire at Grenfell Tower is a stark reminder of how important fire safety is. We have been very proactive in looking at fire safety and highlighting guidance to our members, to make it clear to landlords exactly what their responsibility is. They should pass any information on to tenants and liaise with building owners and block managers. Make no assumptions, take action. Even if you are a private landlord that has just one flat in a building, ask your block managers what action they are taking. Even though it’s not a legal requirement, we should be holding them to account.’