Fire Safety Requirements for Landlords
After the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower block, fire safety for landlords has been brought to the top of everyone’s agenda.
Each year the Fire and Rescue Services attend over 50,000 fire related incidents in dwellings within the UK. Many of these fires result in serious injury and death of the occupants. Recent studies show that people living in privately rented accommodation are seven times more likely to fall victim to a fire in their dwelling, than those who are owner occupied.
Both tenants and landlords have responsibilities in preventing fire, however the legal onus is on the property owner to ensure that potential fire risks are removed or reduced and fire precautions are in place.
There are several important pieces of legislation which impact on fire safety within dwellings, some affect all dwellings irrespective of the layout or how it is occupied. Some legislation only applies to dwellings which are occupied by tenants who are unrelated or only applies to certain parts of the building.
In England and Wales the two principle pieces of legislation which cover fire safety in housing:
- Housing Act 2004 (Housing Health and Safety Rating System – HHSRA) – which identifies 29 categories of potential hazards, one of which is Fire
- Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – for a multi-occupied residential building, a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment must be carried out and maintained in communal areas to identify and provide adequate fire precautions and procedures to ensure the safety of all relevant persons. However, the Fire Safety Order does not apply to individual flats themselves.
Landlord statutory duties
Statutory duties are imposed on landlords under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, amongst others. As a general guide, the key duties for landlords are to:
- Undertake a detailed fire risk assessment, identifying any possible dangers, and keep it under constant review.
- Do everything practically possible to reduce or eliminate the risks from fire.
- Introduce fire precautions to counteract any risks that cannot be eliminated.
- Have an emergency evacuation plan.
- Ensure the needs of anyone at increased risk, such as older people, children or anyone with a physical impairment are met.
- Ensure that tenants have access to escape routes at all times.
Other relevant legislation which relates to fire safety include:
- Gas Safety (installation and Use) Regulations 1998 – Gas appliances should be in safe working order and checked by a registered Gas Safe engineer at regular intervals.
- Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 – Electrical appliances must carry the British Safety Standard sign and be checked regularly.
- The Furniture and Furnishings Act 1988 – Any furniture and furnishings provided must be fire resistant and meet safety regulations
- The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 – Landlords should ensure that there are warning systems within the property to alert the tenant in case of fire. They vary between the different countries within the UK.
It’s crucial that property owners adhere to the fire safety requirements placed upon them, whether taking full responsibility themselves or outsourcing to someone else. They must still be able to provide evidence that they have done everything reasonably possible to protect your property and tenant(s) from fire risks.
Fire safety can be a mined field but Marsden Fire Safety is here to help. We can provide fire related services, training and products across the whole of the UK, through a network of highly qualified Fire Safety Consultants. These include:
- Fire consultancy services
- Fire engineering services
- Fire risk assessments
- PAT Testing
- Fire safety auditing
- Fire safety training
- Firefighting equipment training
- Fire extinguishers
- Evacuation aids
- Firefighting equipment
- Emergency lighting
- Detection and alarm systems.
Published August 2018