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Residential Landlords and Fire Safety

Background:

The Housing Act 2004 (HA 2004) introduced new provisions for regulation of fire safety in existing residential properties with the implementation of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), licensing provisions for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and management regulations for HMOs. In 2006 the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 brought in further fire safety regulations for the common areas of HMOs, flats, maisonettes and sheltered accommodation.

More recent legislation requires smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to be fitted in rental properties in accordance with the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 and landlords have a general duty to keep their tenant’s home fit for them to live in under the Homes Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018 which includes ensuring that there are no fire hazards under the HHSRS.

Landlords are also required to ensure that any upholstered furnishings or electrical equipment supplied with the property comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1989 and the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 as amended (see Letting Factsheet Nos.4 & 5 for more information on electrical safety).

Fire safety and furnishings:

Landlords have responsibilities under the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1989. Any upholstered furnishings provided with the property should be fire resistant. Upholstered furniture includes:

  • sofas and armchairs
  • beds, headboards and mattresses
  • sofa beds and futons
  • nursery and children’s furniture
  • loose and stretch covers for furniture
  • cushions and seat pads
  • garden furniture that is used indoors

The furniture should display a symbol to confirm that it is fire resistant. Excluded items include pre 1950 furniture, the tenant’s own furniture and non-commercial lets of a landlord’s own home. If the furnishings in the property are not fire resistant, they must be replaced with fire resistant furniture. Failure to do so may result in a visit from Trading Standards. For more information on furniture and furnishings fire safety see Letting Factsheet No.3.

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