We had a busy month in March and so did the rest of the sector. Here’s our monthly round up of some of the news and events that happened in last month.

Two landlords have been convicted of breaching fire and electrical safety regulations in Colchester, once again highlighting that councils are not afraid of prosecuting people who cut corners and put lives at risk. Both landlords failed on multiple accounts to ensure tenant safety and one has already been heavily fined. If you’re a landlord then fire safety is now an important part of the laws you must follow. The Grenfell Tower Tragedy in 2017 has ushered in a new wave of regulations to protect the safety of tenants in rented properties from fire. British Safety standards are confusing to non-industry experts and it’s unfortunately very easy to make a mistake, which is why it’s so important to get help from professionals. It’s far better to ensure your property’s standards are up to date, fire safety devices are regularly and properly maintained and your tenants are protected under the regulations you have an obligation to adhere to. Spending a small amount to ensure this happens in your properties is far better for you and your tenants, as there has been a sea change in what the public, local councils and tenants will consider acceptable practice since Grenfell.

Fire safety standards in larger buildings are also causing headaches for landlords, rental companies and developers, as the legacy of Grenfell reveals higher risks of the spread of fire from modern building practices. This is particularly relevant to large student builds in Portsmouth, which are springing up at a very fast rate in the town centre. This was highlighted by a report from Plymouth on 22nd March in which developers were unable to lease completed student flats until correct fire regulations had been met. The importance of involving experts in fire safety during initial project design, throughout the build and regularly maintaining fire safety systems in student accomodation cannot be overstated.

On 21st March Hampshire Constabulary asked people living in the Lymington area of the New Forest to be vigilant after a spate of break-ins and attempted burglaries in the area. Police believe the events are connected, but there are ways to deter chance criminals like this, and CCTV has been shown to help put opportunistic thieves off. It’s important to let an expert carry out a full safety check of your property and not be tempted to buy online. Professionals are trained to spot the areas of your property that you may miss, but you can be assured a burglar won’t.

And finally, CCTV is being used by Police in an effort to trace criminals who stole bank cards from several hotels in the area. Thieves entered conference rooms and stole items from bags and wallets, before using them at nearby ATMs. This story just goes to show how vital CCTV in commercial premises is in helping police catch criminals.