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Fire safety advice for landlords

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Our recent article about the obligations of landlords explained how landlords who rent property have certain responsibilities when it comes to protecting their houses and their tenants. In this blog we will look at two key areas of fire safety that landlords must devote attention to when renting their properties out.

Fire safety risk assessments

clip_image001It’s true that a high percentage of fires are caused by carelessness of tenants such as leaving heating appliances switched on or leaving their cooking unattended, and although a fire may be a tenant’s own fault, it remains the responsibility of the landlord to put measures in place to protect against it.

The first stage of a fire risk assessment is to identify potential sources of ignition, fuel and oxygen. It will then identify any potential human targets that could be at risk from the fire and then evaluate the overall risk of a fire starting and causing harm.

The next step is to remove or reduce any fire hazards, remove the risk to people and find a way to protect the people from fire such as early warnings through smoke alarms, fire blankets, extinguishers and sprinkler systems. Records are then made, and plans and changes are actioned.

It is recommended that once a fire risk assessment is made and an emergency plan is put together that it is handed to a tenant when they move in.

Fire risk assessments aim to reduce the risk of fire, the spread of fire and to provide a way for tenants to escape in the event of a fire. They highlight any potential risks and identify ways to control threats. It is important that a fire safety assessment is carried out on a property before it is leased to tenants both to meet your legal obligations and for peace of mind.

In the UK any property that is built after June 1992 must have a mains operated, inter-connected smoke alarm fitted to every floor of a property and it is good practice to give clear instructions to tenants on how to test and change batteries of fire alarms.

Fire resistance

When it comes to furnishing a property landlords need to make sure that all the furnishings they provide comply with Fire and Safety Regulations. Failure to do so could lead to criminal charges, monetary fines and even imprisonment.

When choosing furniture a landlord must look for a safety label stating “carelessness causes fire”, which all furniture that meets fire safety guidelines will have.

These rules extend to all upholstered furniture and furnishings including the following items:

  • Beds, headboards and mattresses
  • Sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles
  • Nursery furniture
  • Garden furniture which is suitable for use indoors
  • Scatter cushions and seat pads
  • Pillows
  • Covers for furniture

The obligations of a landlord aren’t just limited to fire safety and include many other areas of responsibility. Click here to find out more and read our guide “What are my duties as a landlord?”.

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