Fire Safety – What’s your responsibility as a residential Landlord?

Smoke Detectors PicWould you want your family living in a house with no smoke alarms?

Fire and rescue authorities say new laws making it mandatory for all private landlords to install smoke alarms should be established as soon as possible.  By law, private landlords must issue a gas safety certificate annually for private tenants.  However, it’s not compulsory for private landlords to fit smoke alarms in their properties unless they are rented out as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).  Because of this, the call for additional fire laws comes as no surprise!  If new laws were enacted, private landlords would have to install smoke alarms in all of their properties.  Cllr Jeremy Hilton, Chair of the Local Government Association’s fire services management committee, said: “Many people will be shocked that most landlords are not obliged to install smoke alarms.  The current laws are outdated and inadequate – and without question lives are being put at risk.  While the majority of private landlords are reputable and voluntarily install alarms, there are a small minority who don’t, needlessly putting lives at risk.”

With the private rented sector seeing unprecedented growth and playing a more significant role in where people want to live, it will come under greater scrutiny.  In the middle of 2014, Labour MP Nick Raynsford called for it to be mandatory for all private rented properties to have working smoke alarms fitted. There has been overwhelming support for the motion with 245 MP’s behind it and just 8 opposed.  This has certainly moved the law a step forward.  He said: “Real progress has been made in the past decade to reduce the number of domestic fire deaths, but much more can be done.  Almost one in five privately rented homes still do not have a smoke detector, putting over 650,000 households at increased risk of death.

Here at Hayfield Robinson we echo the suggestions put forward by MP’s and the fire authorities.  A smoke alarm can be purchased for as little as £5 and with the battery lasting years, it can make all the difference between life and death.  We recommend at least one good quality inter linked detector be fitted per floor of a property and that is should be tested and in working order on commencement of the tenancy.  For further advice on practical issues for landlords please feel free to contact us.