Being a private landlord comes with many regulations and obligations that you must keep on top of. Not only do you have to find reliable tenants, collect rent and complete maintenance tasks, there are many legal requirements that you must comply with.
Advice from FireProtectionOnline.co.uk provides a complete guide to fire safety which ensures that landlord’s keep their tenants safe and protect your property. In this four part series, we’re summarising all landlord’s need to know about fire safety for their rental property.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Smoke alarms are vital in keeping everyone safe and early warnings of fire are important in helping all residents evacuate safely and call for help. Regulation requires a minimum of one smoke alarm on each floor of your rental property.
Carbon monoxide alarms are now also required in any rooms with a solid fuel burning appliance. If your property does contain solid fuel burning appliances, you must add carbon monoxide alarms in these rooms.
Installing carbon monoxide alarms if you have gas appliances in your property, even though it is not mandatory is also advised because a faulty gas appliance can also be a source of the harmful carbon monoxide.
Although it is not legally required, FireProtectionOnline also advises having your chimneys swept annually, which will help you keep your appliances safe and ensure the chimney isn’t blocked.
At the start of each new tenancy, you must check that all alarms are working, and then make sure that your tenants are aware of their responsibilities.
If you have battery alarms, the tenants should change the batteries every six months and test them weekly. Alternatively, you could have the alarms wired into the mains electricity, which also contains a life-long battery. This means that the alarm will still work, even if there is a power cut.
Also, consider having interconnected smoke alarms put in. All new builds require this system and you can connect them to each other with cables or wirelessly. These can retrofit into the lighting circuit, which means the wireless system will cause less disruption. With these alarms, your tenants will be warned of a potential threat, regardless of where they are in the property.
Installing a heat sensor in the kitchen will mean that your tenants have fewer false alarms when they are cooking. Optical smoke alarms are also less sensitive to cooking fumes, which make them ideal. However, having a fire risk assessment completed will help you decide which sensors to fit.
If you don’t meet the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms requirement, you could be hit with a £5,000 fine.
Statistically, someone living in a rental property is seven times more likely to experience a house fire than a homeowner. With that in mind, fit alarms immediately if you haven’t already – they are just as essential as a lock on the front door.