As a landlord, you have a legal responsibility to protect your tenants from the risk of fire. Below is a guide which will help you to make sure that your property is fully compliant with fire regulations.
Fire safety legislation requires that a fire risk assessment is completed which covers all areas of a rental property. The purpose of a fire risk assessment is to identify any potential hazards which could result in a fire, and to outline the steps which will be taken to minimise or remove this risk. Current legislation does not specify a particular type or method of fire assessment which must be used. However, the fire risk assessment you carry out should cover the following points:
- Identification of hazards such as sources of ignition, fuel, and oxygen
- Identification of those that would be at risk during a fire
- Removal of fire hazards
- Introduction of equipment which can prevent and detect fires
A fire risk assessment isn’t something you should simply do once. You should review the fire risk associated with your rental property on an annual basis.
If your rental property is offered with partial or full furnishing, you will need to consider if the furniture you use meets fire safety regulations. All of the upholstered furnishings you use in your rental property must be made using fire-resistant materials. When purchasing new furniture, you should check that it has a label which says that it complies with the Furniture and Furnishings Act 1988. You must not remove this label once the furniture has been installed in the property. The only upholstered items of furniture which do not need to be made of fire resistant material are vintage pieces which were manufactured before 1950.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
From 1st October 2015, all private landlords have been required to install at least one smoke alarm on each storey of their rental properties. If your rental property has a wood burning stove, or another solid fuel burning appliance such as a coal fire, you must install a carbon monoxide alarm in the same room. At the start of each tenancy, you or an agent should visit the property to check that the smoke alarms are in good working order. You should also make each tenant aware of the fact that they need to carry out regular tests to check that the smoke alarms work.
Because you cannot rely on your tenants to make sure that the batteries in the smoke alarms are charged, you may wish to consider using long-life batteries which have a 10-year lifespan. Another alternative is to install a smoke alarm system which is wired into the mains power supply. Any new build property will require that smoke alarms be connected to each other using a cable or wireless technology so if one smoke alarm is triggered, all of the alarms will sound.
By following the advice outlined above, you can make sure that the tenants in your rental property are safe from the risk of fire.