FIRE SAFETY ADVICE FOR LANDLORDS
Aug 7, 2018
In the wake of the recent London Grenfell Tower Tragedy, we’ve put together the following fire safety advice for landlords concerned about ensuring the safety of their tenants.
What are my responsibilities as a landlord?
All landlords are legally obligated to ensure the property is fire safe. The legislation that applies to a landlord will depend on the type of property and who occupies it.
The principal pieces of legislation that cover fire safety in housing are the Housing Act 2004, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.
The Smoke and Carbone Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 requires all landlords England to install smoke alarms on every storey of their property, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel appliance. You must test these at the start of every tenancy.
Mains-powered alarms are preferred, as these are more reliable than battery-powered ones although this is the choice of the landlord.
Carrying out a fire risk assessment
Before renting out the property, the landlord should carry out a fire risk assessment as best practice. The main purpose is to evaluate and identify any fire related hazards within the property and analyse and mitigate how they may affect both the property and its occupants.
It should ascertain the level of risk those hazards present and identify appropriate control measures and procedures, which you should then implement.
It may be better to get a fire safety professional to carry out your risk assessment, particularly if you have house in multiple occupation (HMO) properties or a large portfolio.
Review your risk assessment between rentals. Check that tenants haven’t compromised fire safety measures or that new risks haven’t developed naturally. Correct any issues and make a record of your changes.
Fire safety advice for landlords: essential checks
Make sure tenants have easy access to a protected and safe escape route, and that all outside doors can be opened from the inside without a key. An escape window can provide a second emergency method of escape from the first floor.
Engage a Gas Safe-registered engineer to inspect all gas appliances. Repeat this check annually to make sure appliances stay safe. Provide tenants with a copy of the check before they move in, or within 28 days of the check.
Check regularly that all electrical appliances and installations are non-hazardous and in working order. Conduct annual visual checks of sockets, switches etc.
Make sure all furniture and furnishings you’ve provided are fire safe and comply with regulations.
Fire safety advice for landlords: other recommendations
Consider banning smoking in the property. In 2015/16, 36% of all fatalities in accidental dwelling fires were caused by smokers’ materials.
Install a fire blanket and small dry powder fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
We hope you’ve found this fire safety advice for landlords useful.
Ensuring the safety of your property and its tenants are of the utmost importance. Your tenant’s lives may be in your hands, so if there is ever a potential fire risk, act on it immediately.
For more information on the specific fire safety regulations that apply to your property, contact your local authority or fire service. The Residential Landlords Association also provides some useful fire safety advice for landlords.
Considering letting a property? Get in touch with us today – one of our dedicated agents will be more than happy to help.