Landlords are being warned that tenants – especially younger renters – are at risk when it comes to house fires.
Overloading electrical sockets, leaving pans on the hob unattended and putting electrical heaters too close to laundry are among the hazards flagged in the
Home Office’s revamped Fire Kills campaign – with landlords being advised to make sure their tenants are given fire safety advice.
According to figures from the Home Office, most accidental fires start with cooking appliances (48%), usually by a grill or chip pan catching fire, or something flammable being left too close to the cooker, such as a tea towel.
Last year 248 people lost their lives due to a fire at home – and many of these blazes could have been prevented.
And while 90% of homes have at least one working smoke alarm, 23 percent of people say they never test them.
By law landlords must have a working smoke alarm on every floor of their properties used as living accommodation – and must test them at the start of every tenancy.
They must also ensure furnishings are fire resistant and meet safety regulations.
However, responsibility for testing alarms lies with the tenant.
The RLA promotes #testittuesday, a social media campaign encouraging people to get into the habit of checking alarms once a week, and as part of its new campaign the Home Office is advising landlords to remind tenants of their responsibilities.
Home office advice
The campaign is advising people to:
- plan and practise how to escape in a fire and have a plan B
- take care in the kitchen and never leave cooking unattended
- avoid overloading plug sockets and adapters – watch out for loose wiring, scorch marks, and hot plugs and sockets
- keep heaters clear from curtains and furniture and never use them to dry clothes
- stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully
This is all advice that can also be passed to tenants.
The government also has a leaflet on fire safety in shared or rented accommodation, which can be accessed here.
The RLA has a guide for landlords, giving an overview of fire safety legislation and guidance, as well as practical tips on keeping tenants safe.