19104 – Short term lets

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Ref: FOI/19104

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information requested on 8th July 2019.

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

What is the West Midlands Fire Service’s policy on whether properties available for short-term letting such as through Airbnb are in scope of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Reply

The West Midlands fire Service do not have a specific policy on short term letting. WMFS follow national guidance and specifically guidance provided in a government document called ‘Paying Guests’.  (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/11085/payingguests.pdf)

Request

What are the details of the West Midlands Fire Service’s inspection programme and compliance strategy for Airbnb and similar short-term letting properties in the West Midlands.

Reply

The West Midlands Fire Service inspect premises through a Risk Based Inspection Programme or our Referral and Complaints system. Airbnb properties have no specific inspection programme.

Request

In each of the past 5 years, what data has the West Midlands Fire Service (i) requested and (ii) received regarding the location of Airbnb and similar short-term letting properties in the West Midlands and from whom.

Reply

Data has not been specifically gathered from short-term letting properties by West Midlands Fire Service as we have had not identified a specific need, rise in referrals, rise in complaints about this type of property or experienced any operational learning internally or nationally.

Request

In each of the past 5 years, how many Airbnb properties in the West Midlands have been audited to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Fire Safety Order.

Reply

Our risk-based system does not have a separate category for Airbnb which we can search on and so properties would come under the banner of ‘sleeping risk’. Therefore, I could not give you a specific number. Our risk-based system takes into account size and complexity of the building, so it is unlikely that a normal domestic property offering Airbnb services would be scored as very high and requiring audit on our system.

If you have any queries about this freedom of information request, please contact us.  Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

For service complaints, issues or comments regarding this request please contact The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW

 

Further information concerning Freedom of Information requests can be found on the Information Commissioner website at either the following link: https://ico.org.uk/ or at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF.

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