New Landlords, Do You Understand Your Responsibilities in Relation To Fire Safety?
If you have recently become a landlord, it is important for you to understand your responsibilities in relation to fire safety. If you are found to have ignored the current guidelines, you could be subject to a fine or even face a prison sentence.
Are you clear about which responsibilities lie with the tenant and what you are expected to do? If not, please read on:
Firstly, think about the contents of your property. If you are providing any furnishings or furniture, they must meet the current ignition resistance levels. The Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) Regulations of 1988 outline the levels of fire resistance these items must have.
There are also regulations around smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. The rules may differ slightly depending on your location in the UK, but essentially you are required to have a smoke alarm installed on each floor of the property. In addition, there should be a carbon monoxide alarm in any rooms which contain a fuel burning appliance, this includes a boiler.
If either type of alarm requires repair or replacement you, as the landlord, will be responsible for this. Previously tenants were responsible for this if it occurred during their tenancy but now it is the responsibility of the tenant to notify you of any issue with the alarms and for you to arrange for repair or replacement to be carried out.
You will also need to carry out a fire risk assessment. When thinking about the potential fire risks in your rental property carrying out a fire risk assessment can help to ensure that you have considered all the necessary points. The goal is to consider where the potential fire hazards may be and take steps to address these.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you take the time to walk around the property:
- Do all the appliances in the property display the appropriate safety label? This will be a CE mark for European products, or a Kitemark for British made products. You will need to replace any items that don’t carry either of these.
- Are all escape routes clear? They should be, to make it easy to exit the building quickly if necessary. You should also remind your tenant that they have a responsibility to always keep these clear whilst living in the property.
- Have all appliances been PAT tested within the appropriate timeframe? If not, this should be arranged promptly with a registered electrician.
- Are the necessary smoke and carbon monoxide alarms present and in good working order?
- Have any changes or alterations been made to the property? If so, these must comply with current building regulations.
HMOs or houses in multiple occupation will be subject to additional fire safety precautions, if in doubt about these your local housing association will be able to advise on the rules that apply.
If you would like help with a fire risk assessment, please get in touch – we offer a professional service carried out by an experienced team.