In the year ending June 2019, 215 people lost their lives due to house fires – including tenants in rented homes.
In response to this the Home Office has re-launched its fire safety campaign – including information and advice for landlords and tenants.
As a landlord you must:
- make sure all gas and electric appliances are safe and in good working order.
- ensure the property has at least one smoke alarm on every level of the property used as living accommodation.
- have gas appliances checked by a Gas Safe registered gas fitter every year
- Only supply electrical appliances with the British Safety Standard sign.
- ensure furnishings are fire resistant and meet safety regulations.
- show tenants safety certificates outlining when gas and electrical appliances were last checked
- Ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is present in all rooms that contain a solid fuel burning appliance and are used as living accommodation. You must test these and the required smoke alarms on the first day of the tenancy.
New electrical safety standards
Faulty electrics cause about 4,000 fires in the home each year.
The government announced five-year safety checks will be mandatory for landlords for all new tenancies from July 1 this year.
This will be rolled out to all existing tenancies from April 2021.
The new regulations will requiring pre-tenancy and five yearly checks of all fixed appliances and wiring and landlords failing to comply with the new rules will face fines of up to £30,000.
House fires – the causes
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 RLA has a guide for landlords, giving an overview of fire safety legislation and guidance, as well as practical tips on keeping tenants safe.
The government also has a leaflet on fire safety in shared or rented accommodation, which can be accessed here.
The RLA promotes #testittuesday, a social media campaign encouraging people to get into the habit of checking alarms once a week.