This guide will help you understand your key responsibilities as a landlord when it comes to fire safety, with tips on how to carry out a fire risk assessment in the property you’ll be renting out.
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Fire safety regulations sometimes change due to amended legislation or because of court cases, so it’s important to learn about your landlord responsibilities around health and safety. Ignorance isn’t an excuse – if you’re unaware of a regulation and fail to follow it, you could be subject to severe penalties such as hefty fines or even jail time.
The fire regulations for rental properties are outlined through different laws. To make understanding your responsibilities easier, we’ve outlined some of the most important ones below.
Keep up to date with the rules and regulations for landlords in England, Scotland and Wales.
These regulations outline the minimum levels of fire resistance the furniture and furnishings in your rental property must have. As a landlord, you need to make sure any furniture or furnishings supplied in your property are suitably labelled to show they meet the specified ignition resistance levels.
This act, which includes the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), describes many of the fire safety responsibilities applicable to landlords in the UK. In particular, it states landlords should make sure there’s an easy escape route in case of fire, and fire-resistant materials should be used where possible in the design of the building.
This fire safety order says the responsible person for multi-occupied residential buildings (for example, a landlord) must carry out a fire assessment in communal areas, making sure precautions and procedures are in place to protect the occupants in case of fire. It only applies to shared communal areas, such as shared kitchens or hallways in a block of flats.
This legislation requires landlords to install warning systems to protect tenants from the dangers of fire, smoke and carbon monoxide. Different rules apply to different parts of the UK, but most require landlords to install a smoke alarm on every floor and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a fuel burning appliance, such as a wood burning stove.
Following the latest fire safety rules set out in building regulations is essential if you’re refurbishing a property before letting it out. Whether you’re doing the work yourself or hiring a contractor to complete it on your behalf, the responsibility for compliance lies with you.
When carrying out a risk assessment in a rental property, walk around the house or flat and look for potential fire hazards such as:
Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) require additional fire safety precautions, although the specific conditions will depend on where the property is. Your local housing authority will be able to advise you on the regulations that apply to your property – contact them to find out which rules affect you.