Private Rented Team
Dept. for Housing Services
Plymouth City Council
Plymouth PL1 2AA
All rented property must have working smoke detection in place on each level of the dwelling at the start of each tenancy. Details of the legislation relating to protection from fire are are available below. Whatever is provided should be properly maintained, tested and kept in working order. A safe means of escape from fire should also be provided; this will usually be the main stairwell, which should be kept free of flammable materials and obstructions.
Owners should take steps to minimise the risk of a fire occurring - electrical wiring should be safe with sufficient sockets to prevent overloading. Kitchens should be safely arranged with cookers properly sited. Adequate heating should be installed to minimise the use of portable heaters. Furniture should comply with current fire safety standards.
Most fires occur in kitchens, especially when deep fat frying. However kitchen fires do not usually cause serious injury. The most hazardous fires occur in lounges and bedrooms, and are often caused by smoking and the use of candles. Fires are also associated with incorrectly wired electrical appliances, overloaded sockets, portable heaters and heaters used for drying washing.
Fire safety law
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015
These regulations came into force on 1 October 2015. They place a duty on landlords to ensure that there are working smoke alarms on each floor of a dwelling on the date that every new tenancy commences. This legislation can be satisfied by the installation of stand-alone battery smoke detectors, however other legislation may indicate that a higher level of protection is needed in some properties particularly those that are in multiple occupation.
The regulations also require landlords to provide working carbon monoxide alarms in any room where there is a solid fuel burning appliance, at the commencement of any tenancy.
The fine for failing to comply with a remedial notice in relation to these regulations is £5,000. Our statement of principles in relation to enforcement of this legislation can be seen in the document below.
Housing Act 2004 – Housing Health and Safety Rating System
Fire is one of the 29 hazards that can be assessed under this system. If the risk is considered to be very high then the Local Authority is obliged to take action to reduce the risk to an acceptable level. This is likely to be a requirement to provide a higher specification of fire alarm and/or provision of physical separation eg fire doors. This is likely to apply in larger properties or those that are in multiple occupation. Work may also be required to reduce the risk of a fire occurring, for example improvements to the electrical installation.
The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006
These regulations require the manager/landlord to ensure (amongst other things) that all provisions for fire safety are properly maintained and in good working order in houses in multiple occupation. Failure to comply with these regulations is an offence.
The Licensing and management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (additional provisions) (England) Regulations 2007
These regulations require the manager/landlord to ensure (amongst other things) that all provisions for fire safety are properly maintained and in good working order in self-contained flats that are classified as HMOs. Failure to comply with these regulations is an offence.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO)
Requires the owners of buildings containing flats to risk assess their property, improve them as necessary and then maintain them to the appropriate standard of fire safety. It also applies to many HMOs. The RRO is administered by the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.
Fire safety standards
The Government has published the fire safety book 'LACORS Housing - Fire Safety Guidance' below and describes the standards of fire safety which may be required in a range of housing situations, including single family houses, self-contained flats and HMOs. It also provides guidance on carrying out risk assessments.