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Labour Candidate Calls for Smoke Alarms in All Privately Rented Homes in Sutton

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Emily Brothers, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam, has today backed plans to protect people who rent their homes from the risk of death because of fires by ensuring that landlords have smoke alarms installed in properties they let out.
Evidence shows that house fires in which a smoke detector raises the alarm are discovered more rapidly and lead to fewer casualties. Official statistics reveal that privately rented homes have a lower percentage of smoke alarms when compared to owner occupied, local authority or housing association properties.
Last week Ed Miliband set out plans to tackle the cost of living crisis by making longer-term three year tenancies the norm and stopping excessive and unpredictable jumps in rent by placing a ceiling on any increases. Backing the mandatory installation of smoke alarms in the private rented sector is the latest part of Labour’s plans to build a safer and more secure private rented sector.
Emily Brothers said:
“We know that smoke alarms save lives and that privately rented properties are the least likely to have smoke alarms, but the Tory-LibDem Government refuses to act to ensure that landlords install them.
“There are a growing number of people and families in the private rented sector and they deserve better – some 7,155 homes in Sutton today. That’s why I’m backing plans to ensure that people have safer homes that offer greater stability and security.”

Notes to editors
1. The Government gave itself the power to mandate smoke alarms in privately rented homes in the Energy Act 2013, but has failed to act. The Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolich, Nick Raynsford, today (7th May 2014) introduced a Ten Minute Rule motion in the House of Commons that would require the Secretary of State to lay an order by January 2015 on the mandatory installation of smoke alarms in privately rented accommodation. It was passed by 245 votes to 8 votes. Government Ministers abstained on the vote and it remains to be seen whether they will now be forced into taking the action that is needed. Labour will keep up the pressure on them to do so.
2. People in the privately rented sector are more likely to live in a property without an alarm than in any other form of housing tenure: only 82% of private rented homes, compared to 89% of owner occupied homes, 89% of council homes and 94% of housing association homes (Source: English Housing Survey 2011, published July 2013).
3. Fatality rates in dwelling fires in which smoke alarms raised the alarm are lower than those in which smoke alarms are either absent or did not raise the alarm: 5 per 1,000 detected fires compared to 8 per 1,000 for undetected fires in 2011-12 (Source Fire statistics, Great Britain, 2011 to 2012)

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