Landlords have legal obligations when it comes to fire safety and looking after the people who reside in their properties. These requirements do differ depending on the type of property you own or rent out.
Current legislation, namely the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) 2005, states that landlords must carry out a fire risk assessment in all areas of their properties. The purpose is to identify any fire hazards, determine who is at risk and then decide what needs to be done to remove or reduce that risk.
Any flat owners within premises where there is no landlord eg. 8 flats and a common area, lease or freehold, become ‘responsible persons’ themselves and also need to ensure legislative requirements are met and maintained.
The Housing Act 2004 is the legislation that covers premises in mixed use where people are unrelated, live independently from one another and share common areas of the same building.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 applies to inside any such dwelling (from 1 October 2015, private sector landlords will be required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room which contains a solid fuel burning appliance) (for example, coal fire, wood burning stove) – they must also make sure the alarms are in good working order on any change of tenancy.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is the legislation for the common areas of any such properties as mentioned above.
The LACORS (Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services) guide provides guidance on the need for a fire risk assessment and provides information about what a property requires to comply with fire safety legislation. This covers a range of residential premises including lots of HMO’s.
As a minimum, you must ensure you have an adequate means of escape route from your properties in case of fire and appropriate smoke detection. It is down to the ‘responsible person’ to ensure this is in place and so if you are the owner, manager, agent or even own a flat you must find out who that responsible person is as it may be you.
Every property you rent out must have a fire risk assessment. Fire risk assessments are the responsibility of the ‘responsible person’ and should be completed by a competent person with sufficient knowledge, experience and qualifications. To summarise, a fire risk assessment should identify any fire hazards, identify any persons at risk, evaluate, remove, remove or protect from risk, record, plan, inform, instruct and train and finally review the assessment on at least an annual basis or if there have been any significant changes.
To find out more about our residential fire risk assessments or any other aspect of fire safety, please see http://www.whalefire.co.uk/residential-fire-risk-assessments.aspx