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Fire Safety Legislation

Several important pieces of legislation impact on fire safety in rental properties. It is important to fully understand what laws apply to your type of rental property.

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Fire Safety – What are your legal obligations?

Several important pieces of legislation impact on fire safety in rental properties. Some laws are relevant to all types of dwelling and occupancy while others only apply to particular types. It is therefore important to fully understand which laws apply to you.

Outlined below are the five pieces of legislation you must be aware of and the legislation applicable to each property type.

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The Relevant Legislation:

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A.     Building Regulations 2010 Part B

Building Regulations must be adhered to in all types of dwelling when significant building work is carried out.

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B.   Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The HHSRS was introduced by the Housing Act 2004. It applies to all dwellings.  The system provides a framework for assessing how hazardous a property is. Fire is included in the 29 categories of hazard which landlords have a duty of care to risk-assess and minimise.

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C.   The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

Mandatory for all new tenancies and renewals in England since its introduction on 1st October 2015. Landlords are required to provide smoke alarms on every floor of their property and a carbon monoxide alarm in every room with a solid fuel source. Failure to comply could result in a £5000 fine.

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  • Landlords are required to provide smoke alarms on every floor of their property and a carbon monoxide alarm in every room with a solid fuel source. The alarms must be working on the first day of the tenancy.  More details can be found in our post on Fire Safety.
  • The official Guide for Landlords can be found here.

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D.   The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

This Order came into force on 1st October 2006 and replaced and simplified approximately seventy pieces  of fire safety legislation.  It is designed to a provide a minimum fire safety standard in non domestic premises.  For private rented accommodation, it is applicable where there are common areas of flats and bedsits both converted and purpose built i.e. shared stairways, landings, kitchens, bathrooms etc.  All shared areas require risk rating.

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E.   Management of HMO (England) Regulations 2006

These Regulations impose duties on a person managing a dwelling which is defined as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) by Housing Act 2004. They do not apply to converted blocks of flats to which section 257 of the Housing Act 2004. 

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  • Regulation 4 details the duty of a manager to take safety measures including fire safety.
  • For more information on HMO fire safety guidance click here.

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F.   HMO Licensing Conditions

If your property is defined as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) by the Housing Act 2004, it is subject to the Management Regulations outlined above and the common areas are subject to the RR(FS)O 2005.  It will also have additional conditions imposed imposed regarding fire safety by the local authority if it is subject to licensing through their licensing scheme.

The local authority must satisfy itself that adequate fire precautions facilities and equipment are provided in the HMO of such type number and location as the authority considers necessary. Councils therefore have discretion (subject to appeal) to impose additional fire requirements.

Check your local housing authority websites for guidance.

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Legislation Applicable to Each Property Type

Identify your dwelling and occupation type from the tables below to see which pieces of legislation A-F apply to your property.

Houses
Single House, Bungalow, Detached, Semi, Terraced
ABCDEF
Owner Occupied
Single Household (family) Occupation
XX
Rented House
Single Household (family) Occupation
XXXX
Rented Shared House
Occupied on Joint tenancy by 3 or more persons
XXXXX
Rented Bedsits
Occupied by 3 or more persons
XXXXXX

 

Flats
Common Parts
ABCDEF
Purpose Built BlocksXXX
Converted flats
Not a Section 257 HMO
XXX
Converted flats
Section 257 HMO
XXXXX

 

Flats
Individual self-contained flats
(Dwelling behind flat's front door)
ABCDEF
Owner Occupied Flat
Single Household (family) Occupation
XX
Rented Flat
Single Household (Family) Occupation
XXXX
Rented Flat
Joint tenancy with 3 or more unrelated occupiers
XXXXX
Rented Flat
Bedsits with 3 or more occupiers
XXXXXX

If in doubt, seek professional advice

Fire safety regulations and best practice can be a challenging area to understand and comply with, especially in buildings with complex layouts. Please do not hesitate to consult professional advice if you are in any doubt as to your obligations, risk assessment procedures or what fire safety measures to take.

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