I have a 5 bed HMO with 4 tenants and called in my LA HMO licensing team to have a look and get it on their register since they are likely to become an Article 4 direction area requiring planning for HMOs. I do not need an HMO licence with the current situation and have a landlord licence as required.
LACORS states that I do not need fire doors on the bedrooms (2 storeys, no cooking facilities in room, escape windows, simple escape route) and my qualified Fire Risk Assessor and I are agreed on the relevant worked example in LACORS. Nothing appears on the council's web site citing this need for non-licensable HMOs.
The council has however demanded fire doors and intumescent seals on the bedrooms. My FRA responded, citing the example and reason that these were not needed. The council responded in writing essentially ignoring this, failing to reference it, and demanding fire doors be installed as originally requested.
I have followed LACORS and the FRA closely with fire blankets, fire extinguishers, mains interlinked batter backup detectors, luminaires, thumbturns on locks, etc They asked for compartmentalisation of an understair cupboard and relovation of the washing machine (not required according to my FRA), and I have paid a builder to do this. Nonetheless, the council are threatening a section 11 enforcement notice if I don't do the fire doors.
- Is it worth fighting this, even as far as a tribunal?
- They say they will charge £450 for serving a Section 11 - nothing on their web site about it and I don't understand if it is possible.
I feel I am being bullied and they are not even giving me a justification for these extra, costly modifications. I am happy to comply with fire safety requirments but their demands seem to fly in the face of official advice.
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