Fire safety is a major consideration for all landlords. While the regulations vary depending on the type of property, it is vital that you understand your obligations and fulfill them.
Every year there are more than 50,000 residential fires in the UK and private renters are seven times more likely to suffer a fire in their home according to the office for national statistics, but with some careful preparation, you can help to minimise that risk.
Whilst our blog can give you an overview of landlords’ fire safety duties, be sure to seek professional advice before you make any important decisions and be aware that the legislation may change.
Here’s a summary of what you need to know:
When it comes to looking after your tenants, landlords have a duty of care that is similar to that of an employer. When it comes to fire safety this means that you have to do more than just provide a few fire extinguishers As a landlord, if you don’t meet the requirements then you could find yourself facing prosecution which could lead to huge fines or even prison.
The Responsible Person
The legislation creates the role of a responsible person. If you are the landlord, managing agent, owner, or responsible for maintenance of the property then you could be the responsible person. Therefore, you need to check, as the responsible person is the one that the legal obligations fall upon. This means that they are the one that will end up in court if something goes wrong.
At a minimum, no matter what the property type, then the landlord must fit a smoke alarm on every storey of the property. They must ensure that this smoke alarm is working at the start of any new tenancy. They must also make sure that there is a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that contains a solid fuel-burning appliance. Whether this is a coal fire, wood-burning stove or other appliance, all require a carbon monoxide alarm.
Fire Risk Assessment
You are also required to carry out a fire risk assessment on the property. There is no prescribed method of carrying out a fire risk assessment instead it is focused on obtaining satisfactory outcomes. It is about identifying evaluating fire risks and creating a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment. The overall aim of a fire risk assessment is to reduce the likelihood of fire, limit the spread of fire, and ensure that people know about a fire and can escape.
Additional Requirements for Flats
When the property in question is a block of flats some additional requirements need to be adhered to as well. The landlord has the responsibility for not only the flat itself but also the common areas. They must ensure that all flats in the property have front doors that are fitted with self-closing mechanisms and that they are fire safety rated as well. You should also make sure that there is an escape route available to each property in the event of a fire.
Additional Requirements for Housings in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
When you have an HMO then the fire safety risks go up, this could be because multiple kitchens are being shared, or that there is an increased load on electrics. You need to make sure that all exits are kept clear from obstructions. You need to make sure that all fire safety equipment (fire extinguishers on each floor, fire blankets in the kitchen areas, and fire alarms) are all installed correctly and in full working order. You also need to make sure that you have annual gas safety checks and that electrics are checked every five years.