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Landlords and Fire Safety – what do you need to be doing?

With fire safety regulations expected to change in the near future, landlords may have to put more thorough safety measures in place and could face harsher penalties if they fail to comply with the changes.

After the recent review into fire safety, it is forecast that the Government will introduce stricter legislation to ensure that tenants are protected to a high standard in their homes.

If you’re a private Landlord, and you aren’t already with Belvoir, (as we completely look after this side of things so that you don’t have to worry about being compliant or breaking any rules!) then here are our top tips for making sure you are doing all that you can to protect your tenants from fire related threats and to help  you prepare for new legislation;

Protect your tenants

First and foremost, it is your responsibility as a Landlord to put your tenant’s health and safety first. This includes keeping the property protected against fire.

Research shows that those who live in rented or shared accommodation are seven times more likely to experience a fire in their homes than those who don’t.

Landlords need to be aware of the dangers and be proactive in enforcing measures to prevent fires in their properties. This will also avoid you having to pay a hefty fine or face criminal proceedings.

Assess the risk

Understanding your fire safety responsibilities can be confusing, so having a fire risk assessment carried out or speaking to a professional about the potential risks could be well worth it as this can help you to put adequate measures in place to reduce the chances of a fire starting or spreading if it does break out.

Private rental sector regulations vary depending on the type of property you let, so an assessment will help to establish which laws are applicable to you.

Electrical safety

The Government has backed the idea to make electrical safety checks a compulsory requirement in the private rental sector, as faulty electrics account for 16% of accidental fires in private rental properties.

As a landlord, you must ensure that appliances such as microwaves, kettles and toasters are regularly PAT tested, whilst ensuring that all sockets and light fittings are safe, as well as all wiring, fuses and circuit breakers.

Install alarms

Following a consultation on property conditions in the private rental sector, legislation was introduced in 2015 that requires landlords to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, or face fines of up to £5,000.

Smoke alarms must be installed on every storey of your rental property, while a carbon monoxide detector must be fitted in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a coal fire or wood-burning stove. Alarms must also be tested at the beginning of every tenancy.

We have a comprehensive guide to help you understand your responsibilities surrounding alarms: https://landlordnews.co.uk/guides/a-landlords-guide-to-smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarms/

Furniture and furnishings

If you are providing furniture in your rental property, it must be fire resistant, that’s everything from headboards, cushions and seat pads, even garden furniture that is then used indoors.

To check if furniture is fire safe you should look for the permanent label on the item, which is likely stitched somewhere inconspicuous.  When it comes to mattresses, divans and bed bases, these are covered by British safety standard ‘BS 7177’ so keep an eye out for this number.

Want us to look after your property, taking care of all of your fire and safety requirements, plus all the other requirements that come along with being a landlord?

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