Fire Safety in rented properties
While all landlords must observe certain safety measures for furniture and furnishings, there are higher levels of fire safety regulations for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) than for other residential properties.
Fire Regulations for HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation)
The landlord of an HMO is required to ensure that adequate fire precautions are provided and maintained. These must be appropriate for the number of residents and the size of the property, and include:
- Fire warning systems such as fire alarms and heat or smoke detectors.
These should be placed throughout the building, particularly in escape routes and high risk areas, such as kitchens. Fire warning systems should be serviced and checked regularly.
- Fire equipment such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets.
At least 1 fire extinguisher of the correct type should be provided on every floor, and checked regularly.
At least 1 fire blanket should be provided in each shared kitchen.
- An escape route that can resist fire, smoke and fumes long enough for everyone to leave.
This could be an external fire escape, or specially treated fire resistant internal stairs and corridors.
All doors leading to the escape route must be also be fire resistant and must close automatically.
Landlords must also ensure that all furniture and furnishings provided are fire resistant.
Fire Regulations for other tenanted residential properties
The only specific fire regulations relating to other tenanted residential properties relate to furniture and furnishings.
However, landlords of such properties also have a "common law" duty to ensure that their properties are kept free from hazards to the health and safety of tenants, including fire hazards.
Fire Regulations for furniture and furnishings in all rented properties
All upholstered furnishings provided in a rented property must be fire resistant.
Upholstered furniture includes:
- sofas and armchairs
- beds, headboards and mattresses
- sofa beds and futons
- nursery and children's furniture
- loose and stretch covers for furniture
- cushions and seat pads
- furniture in new caravans
- garden furniture that is used indoors
Fire resistant furniture carries a symbol that confirms that it is fire resistant.
Smoking in rented properties
Landlords can choose whether to allow smoking in their properties.
If smoking is not permitted, there will be a clause in the tenancy agreement that states this. This would apply both to tenants and to their guests.
If smoking is permitted, landlords must provide sufficient smoke alarms in all areas where smoking is allowed.
In HMOs, additional regulations apply: under the recently introduced smoke-free laws, smoking is prohibited in the shared areas of HMOs, such as stairs, corridors and communal rooms. No Smoking signs should be displayed in these areas.
Landlords must also provide smoke alarms in those areas where smoking is permitted.
For signage and more information on the smokefree regulations, follow the relevant link below.