Fire Safety for Landlords

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Fire safety for landlords is an important legal requirement

At a time when more and more people in the UK are renting rather than buying their homes, there are an increasing number of individuals taking on landlord duties – these should include fire safety.

Fire Safety responsibilities for landlords are enshrined in law in the UK, including new rules which came into effect in October 2015.

If you are a landlord considering your fire safety responsibilities, it’s important to know that these rules require you to install smoke and CO2 alarms in most properties.

You may be exempt if you’re renting a second home to a single family but you should check your specific circumstances (more details can be found below):

What’s clear is that landlords renting out the following types of accommodation must install fire detection to meet requirements for fire safety for landlords.

* Purpose-built blocks of flats
* Converted flats
* Bedsits
* Shared houses
* B&Bs
* Guest houses
* Holiday lets

So which alarm to choose?  The best way to decide is through your mandatory landlord’s fire risk assessment.

Done properly by a qualified professional, this should provide a clear and logical insight into what you need.  You should also make sure it is reviewed regularly.

We recommend seeking expert advice for your fire risk assessment as this is the cornerstone of your fire safety plans.  Without it you may find you are not complying with the law.

This not only puts lives and property at risk, but could also nullify your landlord’s insurance.

Some of the areas that will be considered in your Fire Risk Assessment are:

  • Do the furnishings conform to UK fire safety standards?
  • Are adequate escape routes are available?
  • Has a ‘responsible person’ been nominated to ensure effective fire protection is in place?

In addition, even though every house or flat is different, generally speaking you will need to consider:

* Fitting smoke alarms & fire alarms at suitable locations
* Ensuring outside doors can always be easily opened from the inside
* Drawing up a clear smoking policy
* Carrying out regular electrical safety checks and record what’s been done
* Keeping corridors and hallways clear at all times
* Fitting  ’30-minute fire doorsto protect the escape route (as the name suggests, they will confine a blaze for 30 minutes)
* Fitting  emergency lighting where necessary
* Fitting  fire extinguishers where necessary

Unfortunately, not complying with fire safety law can result in harsh consequences for landlords. Those who ignore it could face:

* Up to six months in prison
* A fine of up to £5,000 per item of furniture that fails safety standards
* A manslaughter charge in the event of a tenant‘s death
* Being sued for civil damages by a tenant

Whether you’re landlord of a tiny bedsit, or a burgeoning property empire, making sure you understand your fire safety duties as a landlord is of the utmost importance – and could save lives.