Landlord Fire Safety Tips
Being a landlord makes you responsible for the safety of those residing in your houses and flats. But what exactly are you responsible for?
The legal responsibilities for landlords are mostly outlined in:
1) The Housing Act 2004
– the housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS).
– The licensing provisions for certain larger houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)
– Management regulations for all HMOs.
2) The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO)
– The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 makes it mandatory for housing providers to:
o Risk assess fire safety in their properties
o Take adequate precautions
o Reduce those risk
o Manage risks which remains
Carry out a fire risk assessment for each property you rent
Don’t mistakenly think that a risk assessment is a one-off procedure. They’re ongoing and must be constantly updated. Not only is a risk assessment mandatory, but it will form the basis of your entire fire safety plan.
If adequately trained, you can conduct a risk assessment
yourself, however it is best done by professional risk assessors
Fit smoke detectors in all homes
You should never, ever, fail to do this. As a bare minimum, domestic smoke detectors should be fitted:
– In each home or flat
– On every level of a building
– Outside sleeping areas
Fit fire-resistant and self-closing doors
If there’s a fire, these doors will help to prevent it from spreading.
If you have a block of flats, these doors are often referred to as part of the building’s structural safety. These doors need to be close fitting with no gaps and cannot be damaged in any way.
Ensure that doors are kept locked shut so that would-be fire setters can’t access them.
Create a fire exit route
In flats and HMOs, this is especially important. Make sure you mark exit routes with emergency lights
and fire exit signs
Ensure all doors can be opened from the inside
So if you fit a mortice lock, make sure it has a thumb lock on the inside, so that residents can exit without having their key to hand.
Check electrical and gas fittings regularly
Ensure that all gas appliances have gas safety certificates and ensure that all electrical equipment provided is safe. If maintenance work or repairs needs to be carried out, such as changing plugs, it’s your responsibility.
Shared stairways, corridors and landings
They should all be kept free of clutter to ensure that people who are trying to exit the building during a fire won’t be blocked in.
Use fire action signs
They should be placed around your building, telling people what to do if there’s a fire. An example is the one you should place by lifts, explaining that they should not be used if there’s a fire.
Fit firefighting tools
It’s not always necessary, but make sure you take action when it is. For instance, you’ll need to fit fire extinguishers
in plant rooms.
Seek advice when you need it
Your local authority and local fire brigade will offer you some good advice.
Create a welcome pack for residents
In it, you should include information about your fire safety strategy and advice on accessing the fire risk assessment for your building.
photo credit: ell brown
via photopin cc