To continue the 4 part series, this part covers furnishings and fire-fighting equipment which landlords need to be aware of.
If you are renting out a furnished property, you must be careful when selecting furniture. All upholstered furnishings must be made from a fire resistant material, and you must not remove the label that confirms this when moving the furniture into the property. However, the Furniture and Furnishings Act 1988 does not apply to carpets or curtains.
You may also want to consider providing your tenants with fire safety advice in their welcome pack. Let them know to be careful of placing a lighted candle near curtains and to not leave any lit objects or appliances unattended. It is also a good idea to ban smoking in your property, to reduce the risk of furnishings catching alight.
Generally, fire-fighting equipment is not required in rental accommodation. However, HMOs must have fire extinguishers on each floor of the building in communal areas. It is also wise to provide a fire blanket and a multipurpose extinguisher for your tenants. These will give them the resources to stop a small fire from getting out of control. And although you don’t expect them to fight a fire, these items could help them make a safe exit.
If you do provide an extinguisher, you must make sure your tenants know how to operate it. Although you might not be able to provide them with training, you can offer basic advice.
You will also need to think about which type of extinguisher to provide. A powder extinguisher is best for different uses, but it can cause a significant amount of damage. You should weigh up the risks and decide whether a foam or water extinguisher might be better suited. But remember, any extinguisher you provide must be serviced every year by a trained technician.