A Landlords Guide to Fire Risk Assessments in the UK

23 March 2023

Many property managers and landlords in the UK are required to conduct fire risk assessments to ensure that their occupants are safe and that their property meets the UK fire safety regulations standard.

If you’re interested in finding out everything there is to know about fire risk assessments for landlords, this article is for you.

Are landlords responsible for fire risk assessments?

Landlords and property managers are responsible for ensuring fire risk assessments are carried out if the premises has two or more individual households.

If you have the correct expertise, you can carry out a fire risk assessment yourself. However, it is recommended that the inspection is carried out by a professional who can ensure the assessments are conducted effectively.

Typically, for bigger buildings or premises, it is important that a professional can carry out the inspection for you.

What fire risks should landlords be aware of during a fire risk assessment?

The purpose of a fire risk assessment is to identify risks and ensure that proper fire safety measures are in place. Some of the risks inspectors look out for are:

  • Potential ignition sources: i.e. electrical equipment, smoking materials, flammable substances.
  • Potential of fire spreading: i.e. building materials, building layout, sprinkler systems, fire-resistant doors.
  • Impact of a fire: i.e. harm to people, property and environment,
  • Effectiveness of existing fire safety measures: such as fire alarms, evacuation procedures and identifying areas of improvement.
  • Levels of staff and tenant safety awareness.
  • What is the property used for? Are fires used regularly, i.e. kitchens?

How often does a fire risk assessment need to be carried out?

The law suggests that a fire risk assessment is reviewed regularly.

It is recommended that a review is conducted annually to ensure fire hazards are still identified and managed to meet the legal requirements.

A review should be conducted if changes in the premises may impact any of the fire safety measures, some examples are:

  • Changes to the occupancy – either the number of occupants or if a fire has occurred
  • Extended property development i.e. an extension
  • Damaged, stolen or replaced fire safety equipment
  • Changes to internal layout which may affect escape routes.

Your fire risk assessment must be valid and up to date, as well as reviewed regularly. This ensures that fire safety measures meet the correct standards and reduce the risk to life due to fire.

What is the landlord’s responsibility after a fire risk assessment?

The fire risk assessment report will detail any action required to ensure everything is in place to protect the occupants.

This will then need to be reviewed regularly, we will send a reminder annually and we can carry out a new assessment. This is particularly useful if you have student accommodation, where the tenants change annually.

What penalties do landlords face for not following fire risk laws and regulations?

As a landlord, property owner or manager, it is your legal obligation to ensure that your tenants or employees are safe from fire, smoke and carbon monoxide according to the Housing Act (2004) and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005).

Failure to abide by the law can result in a fine or a prison sentence, depending on the severity of the incident and the level of irresponsibility. You could also be legally banned from letting or managing properties.

An example of an individual who had to face fire safety offences is Mr D Lusty from Bedford. In 2022, Mr Lusty plead guilty to the four offences of the Fire Safety Order and was fined a total of £50,525!

Fire risk assessments for landlords are an important part of ensuring you meet the correct legal requirements and ensure the safety of residents. This also applies to property managers.

Which properties require a fire risk assessment in the UK?

Fire risk assessments for rental properties, commercial properties and business premises with employees is essential (all must have a fire risk assessment, but those with over 5 employees must be recorded). This includes (but not limited to):

  • Flats
  • Residential homes
  • Schools
  • Surgeries
  • Salons
  • Airbnb’s
  • Hotels
  • HMOs

Are tenants also responsible for fire safety?

Yes! Tenants are responsible for their own space and to each other, this does need to be made clear either within the contract or with a Fire safety policy.

It is important that tenants are careful when it comes to fire safety and avoid or report potential fire risks. For example, avoiding smoking indoors and overloading electrical sockets.

However, as a property manager or landlord, it is your responsibility to ensure tenants are aware of escape routes and fire plans. It is also your responsibility to conduct fire risk assessments and rectify any potential fire hazards.

If you are a landlord and require a fire risk assessment to ensure the safety of your tenants and ensure you meet legal requirements, get a FREE quote from Fire Risk Assessments today.

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