Recent tragic events in the news have brought fire safety regulations in rental properties to the forefront of everyone’s mind and we have been approached by many local landlords asking for advice on the matter.
We are most commonly asked ‘which legislation covers fire safety in rental properties?’ The answer unfortunately is not necessarily a straight forward one. There are up to six different pieces of legislation that cover fire safety in rental properties. The pieces of legislation that apply to your property specifically will depend on; the type of property, the occupier and whether or not it is a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation). In addition, Buildings Regulations Part B will apply if you are having any work carried out at the property.
Since 1st October 2015 the ‘Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015’ have applied to all rental properties and if you are an existing client of Howland Jones you will have no doubt spoken with our Compliance Officer, Tara about this legislation at some point or other! This legislation insists that there is a working smoke alarm on each floor of the property and a working carbon monoxide alarm in place where there is a solid fuel appliance. The smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be tested at the beginning of each tenancy (we ensure that these alarms are tested (and the tests are recorded) at each opening, interim and closing inspection for our clients with our full management service), and we advise all tenants to test them every two weeks themselves.
It is also recommended that landlords take the following steps in terms of fire safety:
• Ensure that there is a protected and safe means of access from the property
• Ensure that fitted appliances are installed correctly and are looked after
It is believed that the tragic event at Grenfell Tower was caused by a faulty fridge. In response to this, the Head of Fire Investigations for London Fire Bridge, Charlie Pugsley has recommended that landlords:
• Ensure that appliances are registered with the manufacturers
• Check all appliances against the recall list
• Check appliances visually
• Remind tenants to report any unusual smells or noises so that they may be investigated
• Ensure that fridges / freezers are not left in communal areas
The following link provides further information on fire safety legislation and preventative measures: Link