Landlords in England and Wales must ensure that their apartments, apartment buildings, rented houses and house in multiple occupation (HMO) are compliant to the regulation in The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. All the above properties plus any that are tenanted to a council, to a company on behalf of their employees, and any let holiday homes are all subject to stringent fire regulations.

Landlords must ensure that:

  • At least 1 smoke alarm is installed on each storey.
  • A carbon monoxide detector is present if there is an open fire/wood-burning stove etc.
  • At least 1 fire extinguisher and fire blankets are present in houses in multiple occupation (i.e. student houses).
  • There is an easy-to-access escape route from all areas.
  • Any furnishings left in a property by the landlord must be deemed fire safe (this includes PAT testing electrical items for safety).
  • External doors in flats are fire doors.
  • Bedroom doors, or doors into separating ‘compartments’, in a HMO are fire doors.
  • Regular fire door maintenance and inspection is carried out to ensure full working order.
  • All fire doors have a working self-closing mechanism – they’re useless if open in a alarm

All these points are designed for the safety of those particularly in shared spaces, including apartment blocks and shared housing. All fire safety responsibility lies with the landlord if a part of the building, or the doors, aren’t up to scratch. Any death, accident or injury can lead to criminal prosecution, so it’s worth getting it right the first time and maintaining standards.

What can tenants do to stay safe?

Landlords can provide all provisions for tenants to be safe, but tenants must also think logically about their choices and actions. For example, don’t block up a fire escape route with shoes, bags, umbrellas etc. as this will make escape difficult.

Other things include:

  • Don’t prop open fire doors in any circumstances.
  • Don’t leave open fires and kitchen appliances unattended.
  • Ensure cigarettes and other similar items are put out fully and away from anything which might take a flame.
  • Be mindful of candles and other naked flames.
  • Don’t tamper with fire extinguishers and fire blankets.
  • Report any damage to the building or fire doors immediately.

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