Help! Merton Council HMO Licensing driving me mad.
My property is currently rented on a single tenancy agreement, to two individuals but is spread over 3 floors so therefore needs to be licensed. I applied to Merton Council and paid the £900 fee before HMO licensing became compulsory a long time ago.
I will only ever rent to a family / sharers on a single contract. I do not rent on an individual basis. The house was built in 1992 to the relevent building standards, ie all doors to the hallway have door closers etc. (I also think that they are classed as fire doors, maybe someone could confirm if that might be the case.)
The council are willing to license me but first i have to replace the kitchen door with a fire door and closers, and they also want me to replace the utility room door in case someone uses it as a kitchen. Can they insist on this?
Despite every room having a smoke alarm (All are either battery operated or of the FireSentry screw into light fitting type, ) they want me to replace all of them with mains powered interlinked alarms with battery backup.
They also want me to fit fire illumination signs and provide fire escape lighting with a minimum of 3 hrs battery backup. Whilst I am all for fire safety, this request surely cant be for real.
Bear in mind that I currently have a mixture of mains and battery alarms in every room (except the kitchen), fire blankets and CO2 extinguishers in the kitchen, I am absolutly flabbergasted that it has taken eighteen months + to get them to visit and now they want me to spend thousends of pounds on replacing the doors and alarms. Where do I go from here?
They also state that they consider that there is a category 2 hazard in the property because there are inadequate fire precautions at the property. Where can I find the legislation that specifies the fire precautions to be taken?
Help, I only have a month to make written representation or they may service an improvement notice.
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