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Private landlords in Wales offered free cladding tests

Private landlords of high-rise buildings in Wales are being encouraged to take up an offer of free cladding safety checks following the horrific Grenfell Tower fire.

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

Although there is no legal requirement for private landlords to carry out tests, Wales’ Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has urged them to “make no assumptions” and “take action”, after government experts discovered cladding panels that have been found to be combustible on a number of tower blocks after the Grenfell fire.

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.

It said: “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.

“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.”

Douglas Haig, vice chairman and director of the RLA in Wales, commented: “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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