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Fire Legal Musts for Landlords

July 19, 2017
In 2014 there were 263 fire related fatalities and 7,569 casualties, this number has increased to 303 fatalities and 7,661 casualties in 2015. With the number of fatalities increasing, landlords need to make sure they are doing what they can to make their property fire proof! Landlords are responsible for the fire safety of their tenants, although this may seem simple enough, the considerations that need to be taken are far more challenging. Fire safety is covered by the system introduced by the Housing Act 2004, in simple terms, there is a requirement on landlords to carry out a fire risk assessment in the common areas of their properties. The contents of this article are intended to be used as a rough guide for the fire safety of your properties in England.   What is a fire risk assessment? A fire risk assessment is a systematic evaluation of a property, which analyses the activities taking place there and the likelihood that a fire could occur, leading to harm to those within the property. In terms of carrying out the risk assessment, there are three ways to do so:
  • You, the Landlord could yourself carry out the risk assessment
  • Pass it on to a suitable employee
  • Contract someone else to carry out the assessment
How to conduct a fire risk assessment? There is a step by step method to conducting a fire risk assessment, which will be outlined below:
  1. All potential fire hazards must first be identified
  2. All potential people at risk must then be identified
  3. Evaluate, remove or reduce the risk and protect against any risk that may remain
  4. Record, plan, inform, instruct and train potential people at risks, so they can plan to react to any risks
  5. Review your fire assessment regularly
The risk should be written and regularly updated whenever the risks change. Further to this, it is recommended that a fire safety logbook is kept and routine maintenance and services are recorded in the logbook. Consequences of non-compliance If landlords decide not to comply with the Fire Safety Order, there are a number of possible courses of action that the FRA (Fire and Rescue Authority) can take:
  • Advice Letter
  • Minor Deficiencies Letter
  • Action Plan
Alterations Notice This can be used by the Fire and Rescue Authority to have an influence on the management of the fire risk in particularly high risk premises. An alterations notice can be used to give reasoning behind any changes that may be necessary. The notice is therefore used to tell the landlord to notify the FRA of any changes they plan to make to their property before doing so. Enforcement Notice When landlords fail to comply with requirements, the FRA has the power to issue an Enforcement notice on the landlord. This can be appealed by the landlord, and any appeal will suspend the notice until the court has decided as to whether to uphold, change or cancel it. Other Helpful Fire Legal Tips
  • Easy access to escape routes at all times
  • Fire-safe furniture and furnishings
  • Fire Alarms on every storey of your property and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that contains a solid fuel burning appliance
  • Signs should be posted throughout the property, signposting fire exits, must be visible to all residents and visitors, so that they can effectively react to any problems
  • Fire action signs could be posted on resident’s doors, as well as in corridors and common areas!
Landlords who are unsure about the fire safety of their properties can seek advice from their local fire officer. Furthermore, you could contact Henley Charles Estate Agents via e-mail (as shown below) and we would be happy to give you free advice on the fire safety of your property and also we will try to point you in the right direction to get more advice.   E-mail address- info@henleycharles.co.uk
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