Property News

Beds in Sheds Considered Firetraps

Em Morley - October 16, 2012

A report has revealed alarming statistics referring to so-called beds in sheds in the London area. The findings show that as a result of sixteen fires in these properties, three people have died and seven were seriously injured since 2009.

What are beds in sheds?

The term sheds with beds refers to illegal buildings provided for let, by irresponsible landlords. These could be outbuildings or converted garages.

On top of the sixteen beds in sheds fires, there have been a total of two-hundred and thirty-five fires in buildings that occupants should not have been residing in. These include derelict properties and squats.


Of the total fires detailed in the report, there were a number of different causes. These included discarded cigarettes, poor electrical wiring and leaving cooking unattended.

Beds in Sheds Considered Firetraps

Beds in Sheds Considered Firetraps



In August this year, the Government highlighted the problem and issued new guidance designed to help councils stamp out beds in sheds. Hounslow Council has already used a six-figure grant to help hire extra staff to tackle the problem in their borough.

London Fire Brigade is calling on residents in the area to help them locate these types of illegal buildings and to report unscrupulous landlords.

Crada Onuegbu, Head of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority’s Strategy Committee, said the figures underlined the growing concern. Onuegbu said: “These figures are a stark reminder that properties like these are potentially lethal fire traps.”[1]

She went on to say that it is “inevitable” that people living in these properties would “rely on far riskier ways of heating, cooking and lighting,” but “fire safety is not a priority for the landlords who illegally rent them out.”[1]


Onuegbu also pointed out: “It’s not only people living in this accommodation whose lives are being put in danger.”

She states: “There’s also an increased risk to our firefighters if they need to carry out life-saving rescues in buildings that are in a state of dereliction.”[1]