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POSTED 05 April 2016 Lettings

Fire Safety Regulation Tips for Landlords

If you’re a landlord, then it’s vital that you’re aware of landlord obligations for fire safety. There are a number of fire regulations for landlords and, if you don’t keep on top of the relevant legislation for your property and abide by them, you could be putting your tenants and property at risk.

In this post, we take a look at landlord fire safety regulations, including your landlord responsibilities for fire safety, as well as some top tips.

landlord fire 

Fire Regulations and Tenancy Type

As a landlord of a property, you must:

  • Follow safety regulations - These can be found on the .GOV website and they vary between the occupancy type of the property. The legislation is changing constantly but the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) have a comprehensive guide about what legislation is relevant for what occupation type.
  • Install smoke alarms - You must provide a smoke alarm on each storey of a home as well as a carbon monoxide alarm in all rooms that have a useable fireplace or a wood burner.
  • Make available fire escapes - Ensure that your tenants have access to escape routes at all times and tell them that these cannot be blocked.
  • Provide furniture where required - If you’re letting out a furnished property, you must ensure that the furniture and furnishings are fire safe.
  • Provide alarms and extinguishers – If you’re letting out a house in multiple occupation (HMO), you must provide fire alarms and extinguishers.

As you can see, all of these landlord fire safety regulations change depending on the type of occupancy. However, landlord fire regulations are a serious matter, and you should always carry out a landlord fire risk assessment.

To help you with your responsibilities and to help you protect your property, we’ve put together these top tips:

Landlord Fire Safety: Top Tips

  1. Remember all landlords have legal obligations. The Housing Act (2004) and fire safety regulations state the fire responsibilities of landlords of shared and HMO properties, as they have additional obligations to private landlords. However, as a landlord, you should at least ensure that there is an adequate route of escape for your tenants and a smoke alarm per storey.
  1. Carry out a landlord fire risk assessment. Carry out a risk assessment on each property you rent out. You can then use this to identify potential fire hazards and assess how these hazards could affect your tenants and the property. These are best done by a fire safety professional as they can state the level of risk associated with each hazard and identify any possible control measures. Ensure the inspection is completed before a tenant moves in and that you act upon any work they advise you to undertake. Also, ensure you know the Housing Officer in the Environmental Health Department and your local Fire Brigade 
  1. Ensure each storey has a smoke detector. This applies to all storeys with living accommodation and they can be either battery operated or mains powered. Also, remember that you must have carbon monoxide alarms in all rooms with a solid fuel burning appliance.
  1. Carry out regular electrical installation safety checks. By checking your electrical items regularly (even if this is just an annual visual check), you’ll lessen the chances of a fire in the property. This should include everything from sockets to switches.
  1. Use appropriate doors to help tenants escape in case of fire. Outside doors should be able to be opened from the inside. This is dependent on what type of lock you buy for the property. A mortice lock with a thumb turn can provide your tenants with the best chance of escape in case of fire. Internal self-closing doors can help protect your tenants in case of fire, containing it in a single room and helping slow down how quickly it will spread. Protecting the staircase will ensure everyone can get out.

Follow these top tips and you should be able to minimise the risk of fire in your property and ensure that you comply with fire safety regulations for landlords. After all, not only will it help keep your tenants safe, but it will protect your investment, too.

Image courtesy of iStock.