This final part of our 4 part series covers furnishings and fire risk assessments which landlords need to arrange.
Fire Risk Assessments
Completing a fire risk assessment allows landlords to identify potential risks in their rental property. Those landlord with HMO must conduct a fire risk assessment under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Although landlords can complete this themselves, it’s advised to get a professional to carry out a fire risk assessment on the landlord’s behalf.
Either way, as the responsible person, landlords will be held accountable for carrying out a fire risk assessment. The aim of the assessment is to identify fire hazards, reduce the risk to those living in the property and decide precautions to ensure the safety of tenants. Using the report, landlords can then act to make the property as safe as possible.
A fire risk assessment will identify emergency evacuation plans and any fire doors needed. The evacuation route will likely be the usual way in and out of the home. Typically, this is the front door and hallway. This means that the front door must be easy to open from the inside. Depending on the type of door and lock, this would mean that the property must have a pushdown handle or a thumb turn latch. To make sure that the evacuation route remains safe, all rooms should have fire doors fitted to ensure any fires are contained in one room. The advantage of this is that damage to the property and risks to the tenants are limited. The doors must be of solid construction and have self-closing mechanisms.
Landlords can also fit the doors with intumescent strips and door seals. These expand in extreme heat to create a barrier and stop the fire and smoke from spreading. This gives the residents more time to react in the event of a fire and keep risks to a minimum. However, tenants must be advised against wedging the doors open. Although a bit expensive, a fire door retainer could be purchased. These hold the doors open and will automatically release and shut the door as soon as it detects the sound of a smoke alarm.
Let but not least, always tell your tenants what the evacuation route is and ensure that they don’t block it up!