Page last updated at 15:04 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Debate on fire safety in rented housing

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Torbay MP Adrian Sanders called for smoke alarms to be made a legal requirement in all rented properties, after two children were killed in a house fire in his constituency.

Stephanie Wojak, 15, and her foster brother Ben McAuliffe, eight, died after being rescued from a fire at their home in Ellacombe Church Road, Torquay, on 17 October.

There were no smoke detectors installed in the housing association property.

Mr Sanders commended the government for the work it had done to increase awareness of fire safety, but said guidelines around smoke alarms in rented properties were "somewhat lacking".

"The majority of rented homes that do not have smoke alarms may well hold some of the more vulnerable members of society," he said.

Communities and Local Government Minister Shahid Malik said issues of liability and maintenance around smoke alarms in rented properties were complex.

"In the majority of cases local authorities and housing associations as responsible landlords have taken the opportunity to install smoke alarms," he said.

Mr Malik said there was no room for complacency when it comes to fire safety, and added that guidelines would be kept under review.

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