Libby-Jayne Hornsby, aged two, died after a fire on Don Street, Conisbrough, Doncaster in October. Fire investigators found no evidence of working smoke alarms inside the property, an inquest heard.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner for South Yorkshire East Nicola Mundy said: “I am very concerned about the lack of legislation currently regarding smoke alarms in rented properties and will be writing to relevant agencies in the hope that some steps can be taken to ensure smoke alarms must be present.”
Area Manager Michael Mason, said: “We’re pleased the coroner is raising awareness of the current lack of legislation requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in privately rented properties. Fire services nationally have been campaigning on this issue for some time and, whilst we will never know for sure whether smoke alarms would have made a difference in this instance, we strongly urge the Government to consider the coroner’s advice and enforce legislation around this issue.”
The Chief Fire Officer’s Association (CFOA) has been campaigning on the issue of smoke alarms in rented properties for more than two years, on behalf of fire and rescue services across the UK.
The Energy Act, which was given Royal Assent in December, includes an amendment which would make smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms a legal requirement in all privately rented homes.
The Act gives powers to ensure the safety equipment is installed, but the Government is currently reviewing evidence, technical issues and related legislation before making a final decision on how to pursue the amendment.
The closing date for responses to the Government’s review is 28 March 2014. The issues are covered in the discussion paper ‘Review of property conditions in the private rented sector'.