A BBC Radio Five Live Investigates programme on 15 April highlighted the inherent fire risk associated with the growth of unregistered, un-inspected home-sharing rental properties, described by Kate Nicholls of the UK Hospitality and Tourism Alliance as potentially leading to a “Grenfell-style incident” unless inspections are enforced.
According to the Residential Landlords’ Association, Airbnb listings across 10 UK cities grew to more than 210,000 by the end of 2017, more than 10 times the number of traditional B&Bs. MPs, the Short Term Accommodation Association and the National Fire Chiefs Council are among those calling for such properties to be registered, and for hosts to follow safety guidance, since fire safety law applies to any property where people are paying to stay.
Until regulation is enforced across short-term lets such as homesharing – if it ever is – guests within our own serviced apartment sector can be assured that ASAP Quality Accreditation comes with a checkpoint of safety standards that make fire safety a top priority.
As part of our ASAP Quality Assessment & Accreditation Programme, every operator MUST demonstrate that they take all reasonable steps as part of established procedures to ensure that their apartments are provided in buildings which are fully compliant with fire risk management regulations and recommendations in the country or countries where they operate.
These regulations and recommendations will include, but are not limited to:
- appropriately positioned and functioning smoke detectors in each apartment;
- a Fire Blanket or other approved fire fighting equipment, which may include ceiling sprinklers depending on country, are appropriately positioned in each apartment and is/are regularly checked for functionality and serviceability as per recommendations;
- provision of suitably located and functioning Carbon Monoxide detector/alarms where solid fuel or gas appliances are present in the apartment.
Other safety measures requiring verification as part of the ASAP Quality Assessment & Accreditation Programme include those of portable electrical appliances, utilities supply and storage, mechanical equipment servicing, employee vetting, guest security, company contingency planning and a demonstrable culture of health & safety management through the operator’s procedures.
In all cases. operators are required to provide evidential documentation to verify their actions are compliant with the established standards before the award of ASAP Quality Accreditation is made.
Indeed, ASAP Quality Accreditation – and the reassurance it delivers – is a key reason why the Association will, from 1 September 2018, become an ‘accredited-only’ organisation, with all operator and agent members required to be quality accredited as a condition of joining the Association.
ASAP CEO James Foice outlined the importance of accreditation in this interview last year and the assurance this gives to guests anywhere in the world.