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Fire kills – keeping your tenants safe

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

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.

It also runs two fire safety courses, classroom course Complete Fire Safety and eLearning course Foundation Fire Safety.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

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