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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47362
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Madam I'd like to ask you about a letter I received

Resolved Question:

Dear sir/madam
I'd like to ask you about a letter I received from my letting agency about a fire I had in my flat, asking me to settle out of court for 2/3 of the price they've said it cost. The letter says that I left a candle in a room which is untrue and that im culpable due to neglect which is also untrue.
Detsils: I had no means in the property of putting out and that was intensified by a low ceiling (below 7 feet). It occurred as I was testing a Christmas present for my best friend that was a bio ethanol table top burner. The applicator leaked and started the fire. I managed to extinguish it with the use from my next door neighbours garden as the hose in my garden had recently been removed. I was burned in the process but crucially limited the damage to redecoration and minor electrical work. I essentially it started small and with a fire blanket or extinguisher it'd have been a non event.
Do I have any rights here to abstain from paying?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Are you trying to say that there was no fire fighting equipment provided by the landlord?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes I am. There was no fire blanket and no extinguisher. My flat is in the basement of a terraced town house with a separate entrance. There may be one in the main house but I have no keys or access to that part of the building.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
(Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That's on *********** Just in case I didn't include a number.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
The law states that your landlord must keep the property you live in safe and free from health hazards. However, not every property must have a fire blanket or fire extinguisher. This only applies if the property is a large house in multiple occupation. To see if your property was one, check here: https://www.gov.uk/private-renting/houses-in-multiple-occupation If you were not living in such a property then there would have been no requirement on the landlord to provide you with the firefighting equipment you mention and which could have reduced the severity of the fire. Even if you lived in an HMO and the landlord had a duty to provide you with a fire extinguisher, it does not mean you will escape all liability. You still caused a fire regardless of what equipment there was and a fire extinguisher would have only reduced its severity. So whilst the landlord may have what is known as contributory negligence, you would still be liable to an extent for the damage caused. In other words you would still share the liability for what happened – you for the initial cause, and the landlord for the failure to provide the equipment which meant the final damage was greater than what it would have been. I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
That is wonderfully clear and exactly as I suspected. Two final questions. 1) Is there any way that i can get them to share blame and consequently the cost? Settling out of court for 10K is better than the full amount of 15K but if I could spilt that by any fraction that would help as I'm a self employed finger songwriter and that amount of money is a lot to me and not much to the company that owns my flat. 2)is there any way of ensuring they don't put up the rent after I've paid for it?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
First of all you need to ask for a full breakdown of the costs they are claiming for and see exactly what they are trying to charge you for. Then you can see if this could be challenged in the event it has been over-inflated or things that were not damaged were claimed for. Next you need to consider if they have actually broken the law in terms of the fire equipment and that could be a good negotiating point, for example you could make it clear that you are willing to settle but not for this and you are also thinking of reporting their breaches to the Health and Safety Executive so to avoid that they may try and negotiate you down a bit. However, there is nothing that would guarantee a better outcome, this has to be something agreed between the two of you. If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Wonderful! Will leave a review ūüėä

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