New legislation regarding smoke detectors in residential properties is being introduced by the government later this year.
From October 1st 2015 landlords will be expected to install working fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in their properties or be faced with possible fines of up to £5,000.
Statistically, those in rented accommodation are less likely to have working smoke alarms installed, so the government are putting new measures in place to offer tenants greater protection. It’s estimated that the new regulations could prevent an estimated 26 deaths and 670 injuries a year in the United Kingdom.
What do landlords need to know about changes to fire alarm legislation?
If you’re a landlord, to comply with the new rules you’ll need to ensure that smoke detectors are installed on each story of your property. Although the exact placement of these isn’t specified, guidelines suggest that for maximum safety, detectors should be present in hallways, landings and sleeping areas. Carbon monoxide detectors will be required in areas where there is the highest risk for example in the kitchen area, with alarms placed in sleeping quarters so that occupants can be woken if asleep.
As landlord, you will be responsible for checking that fire alarm system is working correctly at the start of each tenancy, although regular testing is down to tenants.
Funding will be available from the government to support landlords in meeting the new requirements, with the Fire and Rescue authorities supplying smoke detectors free of charge.
Current fire regulations for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
Houses with multiple occupants include:
- Shared Flats/Houses
- Bed and breakfasts with long term occupants
In properties that are considered to be HMOs, landlords also have other additional fire safety responsibilities.
Fire risk assessments
To comply with the Fire Safety Order a full fire risk assessment of a house in multiple occupation must be carried out and documented by a professional. This is to identify fire risks and find measures to mitigate them throughout the property.
Fire escapes should be able to resist fire for at least 30 minutes to allow occupants to exit a building safely. Escape routes should be kept clear in HMOs and it is the landlord’s responsibility to enforce this.
Fire resistant furnishings
In furnished properties, any furniture provided by the landlord must be fire resistant so that it does not catch fire easily. Modern upholstered furniture such as sofas and beds should be labelled, but it’s important to check that fire resistance standards are met by all furnishings.
Fire safety equipment
To minimize damage in the event of a fire, basic fire-fighting equipment should be provided for tenants. This may be outlined in your property fire risk assessment, specifying the type of equipment that will be required and its positioning.
As a rough guide each floor should have its own fire extinguisher, which must be of the most appropriate type. Fire blankets should be installed in kitchen areas, away from the stove, so that they can be reached safely if pans catch fire.
Summary of fire safety advice for tenants
If you’re renting an HMO property and are concerned that it does not have adequate fire protection, in the first instance you raise this with your landlord, if possible in writing.
Your landlord should provide you with:
- Working fire alarm system
- Fire safety equipment
- Adequate means of escape – which should be kept clear
- Fire resistant furnishings (if furnished property)
Does your rental property comply with the new fire alarm regulations?
Are you a landlord and need information on the new fire alarm regulations for rental properties? Euro Fire Protection provides fire risk assessments and can install managed fire alarm systems in your property.
Call us today on 08000 515 199.Tags: fire alarm legislation, fire safety, hmos, info for landlords, rental properties