Fire Safety in HMOs
Fire safety: a landlord's responsibility
Fire safety within your rental property is of the utmost importance and, as a landlord, it’s your responsibility to be aware of fire safety regulations and follow them to the letter.
What are the legal requirements for a fire alarm in an HMO?
If your property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) which is subject to licensing, you must also comply with licence conditions in relation to fire safety. The mandatory conditions include a requirement that the landlord installs smoke alarms, keeps them in proper working order, and gives a declaration to the local authority, on request, of their safe condition.
In addition, landlords should:
- make sure that all the gas appliances they provide are maintained in good order and that a 'Gas Safe' registered engineer carries out a safety check each year.
- maintain all electrical installations (ie fixed wiring) and any electrical appliances they provide (ie cookers, kettles), and make sure they are safe to use.
- make sure any furniture and furnishings they provide meet the fire resistance regulations.
Should I record testing my smoke alarms in a log?
We recommend that all landlords keep a record of smoke alarm tests. These records will allow you to demonstrate to regulators and enforcers the measures you have taken to adhere to the Fire Safety Regulations for landlords by mitigating and controlling fire risks within your properties.
The NLA Fire Safety Logbook (England and Wales) has been developed to help landlords like you keep a record of important fire safety risks and precaution in one place. Members can access this FREE logbook .
Wherever fire doors are required, we recommend that good quality certificated fire doors are fitted in order to keep a fire adequately contained and to minimise the risk to tenants and damage to the property.
We also recommend that landlords make their tenants aware of the importance of not obstructing or propping open fire doors for their own safety, especially in communal areas.
In most properties, there is no specific regulation in place requiring landlords to provide tenants with a secondary exit in the event of a fire. Landlords are however expected to mitigate the risk of fire, e.g. by making front doors fire retardant.
For HMOs however, landlords should do everything they can (as opposed to the legal minimum) to protect their property and tenants. For HMOs this should include:
- Keeping all exits clear from obstructions
- Clearly marking fire exits and making sure instructions on what to do in case of a fire are clearly available to tenants, ideally displayed on the wall in a communal area.
Members can access further information on this important issue on our online library.
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