Do You Have a Fire Door in Your Rental Property?
Not all rental properties will have fire doors, of course. Only the bigger houses or apartments will usually be supplied with these. These are known as House of Multiple Occupation (HMO).
Even if your rental property is just a one-bedroom though you will be required by law to have installed a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector if there are any rooms in which there is an open fire, gas cooker or boiler. This comes under the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.
Why Is a Fire Rated Door Required?
Fire doors can slow down the speed at which a fire and smoke spreads throughout a property. This gives those living there more time to escape and means less damage to your property if you can get the fire out in time.
It’s obviously important to keep the fire door maintained to ensure check that it’s working to best effect. That means keeping a special eye on whether the three hinges attaching the door to the wall, are working properly and are secure (wear and tear can often lead to these being loosened). You can tell everything is in order if the door closely tightly and securely.
To check that your fire door is certified – and therefore, effective – you can ask the manufacturer for a certificate. This will say it is in accordance with the necessary British or European standards. There should be a sticker on either the side or the top of the door which states that this is indeed the case. Check the seals around the door are also intact (these expand in heat).
Is It the Landlord’s Responsibilities for Fire Safety?
Referring to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) in England and Wales and Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 north of the border, landlords must ensure their rental properties are fire safe for tenants. Failure to make sure this is the case is taken very seriously by the local authority in which the property is registered. It could result in court proceedings (which will, in turn, result in a hefty fine). You could also be banned from renting out further properties.
The regulations state that, as well as having a fire detector and deterrent, there should also be a clear escape route (clear in the sense it is obvious and the tenants know where it is, and also clear in the sense it is left uncluttered ie with no debris or furniture sitting in the way).
Specific Fire-Fighting Equipment for HMO’s
HMO landlords must also supply fire safety blankets in the kitchen, emergency lighting and fire-fighting equipment such as a fire extinguisher on each floor of the property. Regular monthly fire inspections and drills must also be held with all tenants renting a room.
Special Fire Safety Checks
Your gas installation works should be checked on an annual basis to ensure the supply and any equipment it serves is working properly. This is a statutory requirement anyhow, with a copy of the safety certificate provided to the tenants.
Electrical and appliance (PAT) checks should be conducted every five years in a rental property to ensure that the wiring in plugs is still intact and that the equipment itself continues to work well. Both the gas and electrical checks must be conducted by registered professionals in the trade.
Further Fire Safe Materials
All fabrics and furnishings in the property must also be made from fire retardant material. You will be able to tell if this is the case since it will be advertised as a label on the fabric itself. And finally, any paint used in the property should also be of a fire-retardant variety.
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