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South Kesteven council houses fail fire regulations and electrical safety checks




A local authority has been failing to follow fire safety regulations on the council houses it provides for thousands of people.

A report by the Regulator for Social Housing says South Kesteven District Council has not been meeting the necessary standards it sets out for the properties’ electrical, fire safety and asbestos checks.

It outlined key areas in which the council fails in its safety processes and record-keeping for the homes.

The first council-owned properties in South Kesteven were those at Lumby’s Terrace, Stamford. The district council chief executive has apologised for ‘falling below the expected standards’ when it comes to property maintenance
The first council-owned properties in South Kesteven were those at Lumby’s Terrace, Stamford. The district council chief executive has apologised for ‘falling below the expected standards’ when it comes to property maintenance

For example, it found that fire risk assessments - which should be carried out annually - have not been completed since 2017.

Fire alarm testing hadn't been carried out in sheltered accommodation and in buildings with communal areas, and fire extinguishers and emergency lighting had not been checked recently enough.

Electrical testing has not been carried out this year, adding to the potential risk of fires breaking out. South Kesteven District Council has 6,000 council houses.

It has sent letters to council house residents about a ‘housing audit’ it carried out as a result of the regulator's report. The letter invites those who are worried about the safety of their home to get in touch.

South Kesteven chief executive, Karen Bradford, says “As a local authority and social housing landlord, our immediate priority is and always will be our tenants. Therefore, we commissioned an independent audit and are taking direct action to address the areas highlighted in the report.

“I am sorry that in some areas, we have fallen below the standards expected of us and I would like to reassure our tenants that we are working hard to put things right.

“Throughout this process, we will continue working closely with the Regulator for Social Housing.”

Responding to the report and the audit, Coun Phil Dilks (Ind - Deeping St James) said: “I’m not saying we could have had another Grenfell Tower situation on our hands, but the council has been failing residents on key issues such as fire safety.

“If I was renting out a property and didn’t meet the fire regulations or get a certificate for the boiler then I would expect to be sued by the tenant and prosecuted by the council.

“We have the situation where the council itself hasn't carried out these sorts of checks.”

Tenants in South Kesteven who have questions about the report or the council’s own audit can contact South Kesteven District Council by phoning 01476 406123 or 01476 406080, then press option 3 and then option 4. The lines are open Monday to Friday, 8.45am to 5pm.

People can also email housingaudit@southkesteven.gov.uk

The full auditor's report can be found here .



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