If you are the landlord or investor in a property, you have several responsibilities toward your tenants. Many of these are in terms of keeping them safe and protected while they are living in your home. One of the most important responsibilities is ensuring that the property is fire-safe to minimise the risk of injury or death should a fire occur.
Read on to discover the things you need to know about making your rental property as safe as possible when it comes to the risk of smoke and fire.
Installing Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Alarms
In 2015, the government introduced the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations, amended in 2022. This dictates that landlords must equip their properties with a working smoke alarm on every inhabitable floor of the property. There must also be carbon monoxide alarms placed in every room of the home where solid fuel is burned. For example, where there is a coal fireplace or a log burner.
Prior to a new tenancy starting, by law, you must ensure that all of these alarms are in good working order. During the tenancy, if it is brought to your attention by the tenants that any alarms are faulty, it is your responsibility to replace them as quickly as possible. The lack of working alarms could pose a serious risk to the safety of your tenants. Failure to comply with this legislation could result in a fine of £5,000.
Fire Alarm Testing
If you have a new tenancy starting in the near future, it’s vital that you get all of the fire alarms in your property tested before the new renters move in. Rather than testing them yourself, you may wish to call in a professional service such as Trade Facilities Services and organise to receive your fire alarm test certificate.
Their experienced employees can make sure all of the alarms in your property are in good working order and will provide you with the certificate. This certificate can then include in your property’s tenancy documents to prove you have carried out your responsibilities.
Minimising The Risk If A Fire Should Occur
As well as installing alarms throughout the home, there are other things you should do to help ensure your tenants’ safety.
This includes making sure that, if your rental comes equipped with furniture and soft furnishings, these are all made using fire-safe materials. Not all furnishings have to meet these requirements – for example, mattresses, pillows and cushions are excluded – but as the best property investment books will highlight – it’s probably best to err on the safe side and opt for fire-retardant soft furnishings throughout, even when you don’t need to.
When renting out a property of any size, landlords need to make sure that their tenants have access to easily accessible escape routes at all times. These escape routes should be well-lit, with fire-resistant walls and flooring, and tenants should be able to reach them from any room and floor in the home.
Stricter rules apply to houses with multiple occupations (HMOs). As such, it’s vital that you carefully read through the relevant legislation to make sure you are abiding by the law in every respect when it comes to keeping your tenants safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide, smoke, and fire.
All of these measures will be helpful in ensuring that your rented property is fire-safe and ready for tenants to move in.