Wales politics

Grenfell Tower: Private landlords offered cladding tests

The remains of Grenfell Tower Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Grenfell Tower disaster has prompted a range of fire safety actions from the Welsh Government

Private landlords of high-rise buildings in Wales have been urged to take up an offer of cladding safety checks after the Grenfell Tower fire.

The Welsh Government has contacted Rent Smart Wales landlords to inform them they can access the same tests given to the social housing sector.

There is no legal requirement for private landlords to carry out tests.

But Wales' Residential Landlords Association has urged them to "make no assumptions" and "take action".

The Welsh Government has asked social landlords that have cladding with aluminium composite material (ACM) - similar to that used in Grenfell Tower - to have it tested at the same centre which is conducting testing in England.

Cladding on almost 150 high-rise buildings in England have failed the tests.

In an email to Rent Smart Wales landlords, the Welsh Government said it was trying to contact private landlords of all residential blocks which were seven storeys or higher.

"We are now working with local government with a view to ensuring those living in private sector high rises are equally protected from any unnecessary risk," it said.

"Please be assured that as an owner of a unit or units within such a building no direct action in relation to the cladding is necessary on your part. You may of course wish to reassure yourself and your tenants of other general fire safety."

Image caption Councils and housing associations are being encouraged to test all cladding on tower blocks

Douglas Haig, vice chairman and director of the Residential Landlords Association for Wales, said it was rare for private landlords to own an entire block of flats.

He said: "The fire at Grenfell Tower is a stark reminder of how important fire safety is.

"We have been very proactive in looking at fire safety and highlighting guidance to our members, to make it clear to landlords exactly what their responsibility is.

"They should pass any information on to tenants and liaise with building owners and block managers.

"Make no assumptions, take action. Even if you are a private landlord that has just one flat in a building, ask your block managers what action they are taking.

"Even though it's not a legal requirement, we should be holding them to account."

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