Fire Safety Campaign:
In response to the Home Office’s fire safety campaign the Residential Landlords Association is reminding landlords and tenants of the dangers lurking in domestic premises and gives some timely words of advice.
The Home Office has released a dramatic video as part of its Fire Kills campaign, which is scheduled to be broadcast across England through television, radio and online.
The video highlights the everyday accidents that can cause fires in the home and illustrates how easily fires can become out of control, with potentially fatal consequences, especially when smoke alarms are not in use or are ineffective. Watch the video here
According to the latest Home Office analysis of fires, most accidental fires start with cooking appliances (48 per cent), usually by a grill or chip pan catching fire or something flammable being left too close to the cooker, such as a tea towel.
In the year ending June 2019, 215 people lost their lives due to house fires, including tenants in rented homes.
The RLA spells out Landlords’ obligations in respect of home safety.
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 has announced the introduction of five-year electrical safety checks to be a mandatory for all residential landlords for all new tenancies from July 1 this year. This will in turn be rolled out to all existing tenancies from April 2021.
The new regulations will require pre-tenancy and five yearly checks of all fixed appliances and wiring by a trained and qualified professional electrician. Any landlord failing to comply with the new rules will face fines of up to £30,000.
House fires – the causes
- overloading electrical sockets
- leaving pans on the hob unattended
- putting electrical heaters too close to laundry
The Home office advice says:
- 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 adaptors – 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
Chris Norris, Director of Policy and Practice at the National Landlords Association (NLA), says:
“A landlord’s number one priority must be to provide homes which are safe and fit for purpose. A rented home without a working smoke alarm is simply not fit for purpose.
“Fire safety is of the utmost importance for all homes, and landlords can play an important part in reducing the risk of incidents. This includes carrying out regular first safety risk assessments and making sure that smoke or heat alarms are fitted and tested as required by the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (England) regulations 2015.
“Landlords must comply with the law as a minimum but the NLA also encourages anyone letting property to encourage their tenants to regularly test the alarms in their homes and to report any issues as soon as they become apparent.
“Following these simple steps prevents injury and save lives.“
For more information on fire safety obligations, and how to carry out a thorough fire safety risk assessment, download a copy of the NLA’s fire safety log book from https://landlords.org.uk/firesafety
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.