August 4, 2017

Fire Safety Advice for Landlords: Keeping Tenants Safe

In the wake of the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, you may be concerned about ensuring the safety of your tenants. We’ve put together the following fire safety advice for landlords to help you.

What are my responsibilities as a landlord?


All landlords have legal obligations regarding fire safety. The legislation that applies to you will depend on the type of property you own and who lives in it.


The principle pieces of legislation that cover fire safety in housing are the Housing Act 2004, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.


The latter piece of legislation requires all landlords in England to install smoke alarms on every storey of their property, and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel appliance. You must test these at the start of every tenancy.


Mains-powered alarms are preferred, as these are more reliable than battery-powered ones.


Carrying out a fire risk assessment


One of the most important pieces of fire safety advice for landlords is to carry out a fire risk assessment before renting out a property.


Your risk assessment should identify and evaluate any fire-related hazards within the property, and analyse how they may affect the property and its occupants.


It should ascertain the level of risk those hazards present and identify appropriate control measures and procedures, which you should then implement.


It may be better to get a fire safety professional to carry out your risk assessment, particularly if you have house in multiple occupation (HMO) properties or a large portfolio.


Review your risk assessment between rentals. Check that tenants haven’t compromised fire safety measures or that new risks haven’t developed naturally. Correct any issues and make a record of your changes.


Fire safety advice for landlords: essential checks


  • Make sure tenants have easy access to a protected and safe escape route, and that all outside doors can be opened from the inside without a key. An escape window can provide a second emergency method of escape from the first floor.


  • Engage a Gas Safe-registered engineer to inspect all gas appliances. Repeat this check annually to make sure appliances stay safe. Provide tenants with a copy of the check before they move in, or within 28 days of the check.


  • Check regularly that all electrical appliances and installations are non-hazardous and in working order. Conduct annual visual checks of sockets, switches etc.



Fire safety advice for landlords: other recommendations


  • Consider banning smoking in the property. In 2015/16, 36% of all fatalities in accidental dwelling fires were caused by smokers’ materials.


  • Install a fire blanket and small dry powder fire extinguisher in the kitchen.


We hope you’ve found this fire safety advice for landlords useful.


Remember, ensuring the safety of your tenants is of the utmost importance. If at any time a tenant informs you of a potential fire risk, act on it immediately. Your tenants’ lives may be in your hands.


For more information on the specific fire safety regulations that apply to your property, contact your local authority or fire service. The Residential Landlords Association also provides some useful fire safety advice for landlords.


Considering letting a property? Get in touch with us today – one of our dedicated agents will be more than happy to help.


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