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Fire Safety Explained for Landlords

Do you need to provide a professional Fire Risk Assessment for a domestic letting? 

No, for a residential letting which has no shared areas there is no need for a fire risk assessment. Only properties where there are communal areas, or shared entrance and corridors to the property will require Fire Risk assessment, emergency lighting and a means for raising the alarm in the event of a fire. Fire Risk assessments are required to be carried out approximately 12-18 months, unless there have been alterations to the building although this is not defined other reasons may occur that will require a Fire Risk assessment to be updated.

If a property is let out in a block of flats, who would be Liable for the Fire Safety?

The owner of the building, the managing agents or responsible person (on site care taker/manager) would be responsible for the fire safety of the building. The fire risk assessment does not undertake the external cladding of the building, this falls under what is know as EWS1 (external wall system) which can only be undertaken by a suitably qualified structural fire engineer.

Do Landlord’s need to provide Fire Extinguishers for tenants?

No, because as the property is a residential letting, fire extinguishers may be deemed unsafe if you are not adequately trained to use them. However if there are plant rooms or lift motor rooms it may be advisable to put a CO2 fire extinguisher in these locations as contractors who may be working in these area’s should have received training by their employers and in their safe use.

Do Landlord’s need Fire Signage and Emergency lighting in their property? 

If the property consists of any communal areas then it is the necessary safety signage and emergency lighting is to be provided along escape routes, and down levels and changes of direction. Signage should also be provided on all fire doors, specialist signing on plant rooms may be required.

Do I need fire doors in my property that I let out?

Yes, Flats or HMO’s all doors to residences needs to be a fire door, up to the first floor they need to be 30minutes fire doors, doors above the first floor need to be 60 minute fire doors. All doors are to be fitted with intumescent seals and brushes to both sides and the top with gaps not exceeding 3mm to the sides and top, 10mm to the bottom. All fire doors are to have 3 fire rated hinges and automatic self closing devices. If there is a letter box / letter flap to a resident door this is the be a intumescent letter flap. Fire doors are also required in any compartmentation lobby’s. Visual panels on fire doors are to be kept clear and to be fitted with fire rated glazing ( Georgian wired/ Pyro glass ).

What fire safety advice should I provide my tenants?

If a property consists of shared areas then it is advisable that the landlord has provided actions to take in the event of a fire, outlining the fire assembly point. If it also advisable that tenants in shared properties get to know their neighbours to understand any vulnerable persons who may require additional assistance from the emergency services. Kentlincs would recommend that as a responsible landlord you provide either a steel cabinet or document wallet inside the main entrance which will hold a fire log book and relevant building information i.e water shut off’s, gas meter locations, electrical supply etc.

Is it the Landlords responsibility to make sure the property is Fire Safe for tenants?

As a landlord it is your duty to ensure that the property is fit for purpose, with fire safety requirements ensuring you have adequate smoke alarms, emergency lighting (on Communal areas) fire safety signage and Carbon monoxide detectors in any room that has a gas boiler or a gas fire.

Would it be the landlord’s responsibility to test the smoke alarms in a property?

Smoke alarms should be tested monthly by a suitably qualified person and a record needs to be kept of the testing in an onsite fire logbook for any properties with a common area. In a standard residential house (property which have no shared or communal areas) you do not normally require fire alarms or emergency lighting/ signage. However, it is good practice, we would recommend that Fire blankets are provided in the kitchen area.