Regardless of whether you are a first time letter or a seasoned private landlord with an extensive portfolio, ensuring that your tenants are safe and that your properties comply with current fire safety regulations is vital.
According to official government statistics, in 2015/16 there were approximately 529,000 incidents attended by fire and rescue services in England. In 28% of dwelling fires, no fire alarm was present and a further 11% did not have a working one. Furthermore, cooking appliances were behind 50% of accidental dwelling fires and 52% of non-fatal casualties in 2015/16.
In light of these statistics, it is imperative that landlords complete a fire risk assessment, install appropriate fire safety protection in their rental property, and have a good level of communication with tenants. This helpful resource for landlords will run through all the information you need to know to improve fire safety in rented accommodation.
To find out more about preventing fires in the most hazardous room in the home, please download our free kitchen fire safety ebook.
Both private and social landlords in England and Wales should refer to Building Regulations 2010 Part B; in Scotland the Technical Handbook (Domestic) – Fire Grade D LD2; and Northern Ireland the Technical Booklet E Grade D LD2. However, the following fire safety legislations should also be kept in mind:
We interviewed Ceri Flavell, Watch Manager in the Protection (Fire Safety) Department of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, concerning the Regulatory Reform Order. The full account can be found here.
Whilst there are currently no specific laws in Northern Ireland that demand private landlords install smoke or CO alarms, if the property is a new build, or is extended or renovated, then legally landlords are required to fit smoke and CO alarms.
In Wales, law states that landlords must fit a CO alarm if installing a new or replacing an old solid fuel burning appliance (solid fuel is coal or wood), or if installing a new or replacing an old appliance that burns any type of fuel (gas, oil, wood or coal), with the exception of cookers. To provide an adequate level of CO safety, it is recommended that landlords follow the lead of Scotland/England
Landlords should familiarise themselves with BS EN 50292 (2013), which is an installation and maintenance guide for carbon monoxide alarms in the home; and BS 5839-6 (2013), which provides recommendations for installing smoke and heat alarms in existing and new-build properties. For more resources/information, see our make sure your smoke alarms are meeting british standards blog post.
Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 – this specifies the requirements needed to ensure electrical equipment is safe to use in rental accommodation e.g. appliances must carry the British Safety Standard sign.
Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 This outlines the level of fire resistance needed for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other upholstery products in the rented premises.
Tenants too have a big influence in preventing fires, and landlords should:
As a landlord, it is your moral and legal duty to protect your tenants and provide a safe environment. It is imperative to comply with government-led legislation, but if you want more information, check out our Social Housing Toolkit.
Additionally, if you are a landlord wanting to check you have implemented all the essential fire safety measures in your rental accommodation, you can download our Fire Safety Checklist For Landlords here: