Fire safety guidance for landlords and holiday let owners

Keeping on top of current health and safety rules and regulations can cause a headache for landlords and home rental owners. So much so that according to AXA, millions of buy to let landlords are breaking the law by ignoring fire and gas safety regulations.

Whether you let out a house, yurt, flat or boat, it is crucial that you keep up to date with any changes to prevent fines and putting lives at risk. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you check that your property adheres to fire regulations.

I am a landlord, what Fire Regulations apply to me? 
Just like an employer, landlords must comply with certain legal obligations when it comes to fire safety. Landlords have a responsibility under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to ensure that their staff and visitors are safe. It is vital that landlords are aware of their responsibilities and follow the key laws for rented properties.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005)
This order applies to any person who is responsible for shared communal areas that must take reasonable steps to reduce the risk from fire and make sure that people can safely escape.

The Housing Act 2004, including the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
This law sets the main requirements of fire safety in a rented home. It includes responsibilities such as ensuring that tenants have appropriate escape routes available in the case of a fire, providing adequate firefighting equipment and making repairs to the fabric of the property.

Furniture and furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988/1989, 1993 and 2010 
This regulation sets levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery including sofas, mattresses and scatter cushions.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
Landlords must ensure that there are warning systems within the property to alert the tenant in case of a fire.

Do holiday let owners have to comply with Fire safety regulations?
Yes. Holiday home owners must comply with The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005). This requires undertaking a fire risk assessment, identifying any potential fire risks and acting on the findings.

Do I need to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment for each property I rent out?
Legislation requires that landlords carry out fire risk assessments in all common areas of properties. A fire risk assessment is legal demand that identifies all fire related hazards within the premises and evaluates how those hazards may harm the building and its occupants. It also identifies corrective actions and further steps to achieve an appropriate level of fire safety. 

 The Fire Risk Assessment five step approach:

  1. Identify fire hazards
  2. Identify people at risk
  3. Evaluate, remove or reduce and protect from risk 
  4. Record, plan, inform, instruct and train
  5. Review

The person responsible for the premises (owner occupier or agent) must carry out a fire-risk assessment, however a ‘competent’ person can do this on the landlord’s behalf. The Fire Safety Order also requires that a fire risk assessment is periodically reviewed, whenever a building is altered or the occupancy changes. 

What are the specific fire safety responsibilities for landlords and holiday let owners? 
People who live in rented or shared accommodation are seven times more likely to experience a fire, according to Property Reporter. To help reduce potential risks, here is an overview of the main fire safety duties.

Fire safety measures 
Multi-purpose fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, a fire blanket and fire exit signage must be included within holiday let homes.

Fire detection and carbon monoxide detectors
By law, at least one smoke alarm must be installed on every floor of a rented property. For any room that contains a solid fuel burning appliance such as a coal fire or wood burning stove, a carbon monoxide alarm must also be fitted. Landlords must also test alarms at the beginning of every tenancy and it is recommended that tenants test alarms monthly. 

Electrical fire and gas safety
Landlords must also ensure that all electrical appliances, circuits and fixed installations within the property are safe. Although not a legal requirement, landlords are also advised to obtain an Electrical Safety Certificate that provides proof that a qualified electrical engineer has inspected the premises. Insurance may be invalid if this inspection has not been carried out. With regards to gas, properties that use gas supply for central heating or cooking appliances, must hold a valid Gas Safety Certificate. These appliances must be regularly maintained and serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer. 

Furniture safety
To comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988, landlords must ensure that all furniture is “fire resistant” by simply checking the manufacturers permanent label which signifies compliance.

Fire doors 
Often a significant area of neglect, fire doors help to stop the spread of heat and smoke. Protecting lives as well as buildings, fire doors are part of a building’s PASSIVE fire protection system and are an essential requirement for flats or houses with loft conversions.

Another way landlords can help to ensure maximum protection against a fire is to install Fire Kits. Smart Fire Kits by Codelocks fit to the Codelocks smart lock of a door and add additional protection by ensuring that smoke and fire cannot travel through lock installation gaps.

Easy to fit and compatible with new and existing Codelocks Mechanical and Electronic latch Lock products, Codelocks Fire Kits provide locks with 30 or 60 minutes fire protection allowing tenants more time to safely evacuate. In the event of a fire, intumescent strips and tubes expand to protect the latch, filling any apertures which stops smoke escaping and flames spreading.

What else can I do to make my accommodation more appealing? 
With holiday rental websites such as Home and Away offering more than two million places to stay in 190 countries, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your holiday rental stands out from the crowd. As the saying goes ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression.’

Offer convenient access
After a long, stressful journey the last thing guests want is to wait around for the host to let them into the property. Investing in a smart lock provides guests with keyless, 24/7 access, allowing guests to check-in with a code when it’s convenient to them.

Upgrade security
Offer a safe place for guests to store their valuables. Ideal for jewellery and passports, the cost-effective, sleek Nano90 provides simple, keyless access and can easily be fitted to furniture cupboards and drawers.

Enhance outside space
Provide your guests with a comforting sense of security by ensuring that the outside of the property is just as well protected as it is inside. Fitting a mechanical lock to sheds and gates helps to save time and money. Ideal for inside and outside use, all Codelocks mechanical and electronic locks are fire rated which adds an additional layer of protection.       

Treat guests to unexpected extras 
Surprise your guests with 24/7 access to special facilities. Installing an electronic lock to gain access to a hot tub, tennis court or cinema room will give guests the option to use your amenities as and when they like so you will be sure to receive a generous star rating!

Whether you are looking to upgrade your home rental with smart access control, restrict access to cupboards or rooms in your rental, or upgrade your doors with fire kits, we can advise on the best option for your property.

For detailed information on your safety responsibilities refer to the government website.

 

24, Sep 2019

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