How to improve fire safety in rented accommodation
Learn about your fire safety obligations as a landlord and measures you can take to improve fire safety in rented accommodation.
While common causes of fires such as candles or faulty electrics remain the same across owner-occupier and rental properties, people living in rented or shared accommodation are seven times more likely to have a fire.
Given that not having a working smoke alarm elevates the risk of dying in a fire by four times, it’s no wonder the government has created strict regulations around fire safety in rented accommodation.
Learn about your obligations as a landlord and measures you can take to improve fire safety in rented property.
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Fire safety in rented accommodation: the regulations
It goes without saying that you’ll be providing your tenants with gas or electricity-operated appliances. All electrical and gas appliances must be safety-checked and in good working order, and your tenants must be shown the relevant safety certificates.
This means calling Gas Safe registered engineers to check your gas appliances annually and ensuring that all electrical appliances carry the British Safety Standard sign.
The safety certificates will be signed and dated and must be made available to tenants, so they know you have done all you can to keep them safe.
How to improve fire safety in rented property
As a landlord you should be adhering to the following regulations across all your let properties.
Use flame-retardant furnishings
Under the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988, all domestic upholstered furniture and coverings and any item containing or covered with upholstery must be upholstered using flame-retardant furnishings.
When purchasing upholstered items for your tenanted property, look for the certificate depicting a match and a cigarette. If unsure, ask for written statements that all foams and fillings pass the test.
Maximum wattage warnings
Also ensure that all lampshades display the maximum wattage bulb that can be used.
Install smoke detectors
As of October 2015 you are legally obliged to provide smoke detectors in all tenanted properties.
You are also legally obliged to ensure that working carbon monoxide detectors are fitted in your property.
It’s your obligation to identify high-risk rooms, such as those where solid fuel heating systems are installed, and ensure a carbon monoxide detector is present in these rooms.
Fire safety advice for your tenants
You might also want to provide additional fire safety for your tenants in the form of practical advice.
- Discuss suitable fire escape routes
- Show them where smoke detectors are installed
- Make the opportunity to answer any other fire safety questions they have
As the number of private landlords and new-build properties in the UK increases, the government is determined to ensure that tenanted properties are managed safely without tying the system up in red tape.
They’re also cracking down on landlords who don’t follow the rules. Failing to keep your tenants safe through the measurements listed above could see you face fines of up to £5,000.
While other measures can be put in place, and tenants should act sensibly, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by ensuring you follow the regulations carefully and keep abreast of any changes.