How to protect a property from fire12-10-2022 | Damaged Property
‘I want to protect my rental property from a fire.’ – we hear you.
Your asset will need to follow some legal fire safety requirements. In hand with this, you should be taking the steps listed below to safeguard your tenants from fire emergencies.
As a landlord, you should have clarity over what requirements you are responsible for before the tenancy begins. Furthermore, you can guide your tenants through a fire protection process which will give you an added sense of security.
From fire doors to fire certificates; CIA’s advice is here for you to take up as you set up your rental property for new tenants.
Do landlords need a Fire Risk Assessment?
To comply with the law you will need to complete a fire risk assessment with your region’s fire department for all your rental properties. You’ll have to put in appropriate safety measures and maintain them as well as put together an effective evacuation plan.
Does a landlord need a Fire Safety Certificate?
Yes, a landlord legally needs a fire safety certificate to prove the property is safe for their tenants. In recent years, there have been amends to the fire safety laws in response to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. This will be issued by your local fire authority. Simply google your local fire authority to start this process.
Does a landlord need a Gas and Electricity Safety Check?
You are legally required to get an electricity and gas safety check. The check basically clarifies that the gas and electricity has been installed and is being maintained by a certified engineer. You must provide your tenants with a copy of the gas safety check before they move in or no later than 28 days after.
Gas safety checks must be carried out annually. Electrical safety condition report checks should be carried out every five years.
You might want to seek the advice of our expert team at CIA regarding fire damage and your insurance. Request a call back today.
Steps you should take to protect your property from fire
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
As a landlord, you are required by law to place smoke alarms on every floor of the building. If you have a room with a solid fuel-burning appliance such as a log burner, you must install a carbon monoxide detector close by.
At present, only HMO’s (homes of multiple occupancy) are required to have fire doors.
Fire doors are vital when protecting smoke damage from occurring throughout the rest of the building. In addition, the fire doors are designed to buy time and prevent choking and in some cases death from smoke inhalation.
Building regulations details where fire doors should be used:
- Any new build or home renovation that has three or more floors must have fire doors fitted to every habitable room that leads from a stairwell.
- Any door leading from your home into an integral garage must be a fire door.
Making sure your tenants know their route out of the building during an emergency is key. Keep stairs and side exits clear at all times.
Access to the escape routes is a landlord’s responsibility and should be monitored regularly when you do your regular property checks. Be sure to point out any exit obstructions to your tenants when you carry out your visits.
Check all electricals with a PAT
Although this isn’t compulsory, landlords will absolutely want to check for a British or European safety mark to ensure all appliances are in safe working order before a tenancy begins.
Most fires begin with a faulty electrical product so check all sockets, white goods and kitchen appliances before the tenancy starts. A PAT (portable appliance test) will give you that extra reassurance and could even help with a liability claim.
Fire safe furniture and furnishings
Your responsibility as a landlord is to check that your furnishings have the correct fire safety labels on them. Be sure your tenants do not remove or replace them for any reason during your periodic inspections. If a tenant does this, take photos as evidence and advise that they replace it with fire-safe furniture immediately.
Is a tenant responsible for protecting your property from fire?
Protecting your property from fire is a joint effort. Whilst you must ensure that you are meeting your legal fire safety responsibilities and your duty of care to your tenants, your tenants also need to be mindful of mitigating fire risks whilst living in your property. Giving extra guidance to your tenants could give you peace of mind and prevent a fire from occurring.
Although you might feel like you’re just talking common sense to your tenants, there’s no harm in setting out clear guidelines to fire safety at the beginning of the tenancy. If you’re embarking on the student property market, this may be the first time your tenants have heard the points below.
With that in mind, we suggest you go through these points with your tenants:
- Keep in good communication with your tenants. Whether you have a management company as the main point of contact or yourself, make sure the tenants understand their part to play in fire safety.
- Ask your tenants to carry out a fire alarm, smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector test once a month and report back to you if any maintenance is needed. You can keep a log book of recorded tests to see when the last one was carried out.
- Ban smoking, candles, incense and other flame-exposed objects from inside the property.
- Most domestic fires start with electrical products malfunctioning. Make sure your tenants understand they should report burning smells, or any white goods that are not operating as usual. Advise that their own electricals are PAT tested before use on the property.
- Agree with your tenants to keep a key for windows and doors to enable a safe exit should they need to use it in an emergency.
- Remind your tenants not to store flammable liquids or items near heaters, boilers or fuse boxes. It’s worth mentioning not to cover electrical heaters as well.
- If you’re renting out a HMO, you should provide fire extinguishers and fire blankets on the property. Make sure the tenants understand the difference between a gas fire extinguisher or an electrical fire extinguisher.
Different types of extinguishers
The versatility of these two extinguishers will allow your tenants to make informed quick decision making should a fire occur.
Blue extinguishers (powder) are your safest bet as they work on combustible materials, electrical goods, flammable liquids, combustible metals and flammable gases. Yellow extinguishers (wet chemical) can be used on cooking oils.
Unsurprisingly, tenants are found bending rules from time to time and fires do occur. With the implementation of the steps above and CIA’s landlord insurance, landlords like yourself need not panic if the worst happens. Request a call back with one of our expert team today and we’ll guide you through your landlord’s insurance with CIA.
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