Are your tenants fire safe?Make Text Bigger
As winter kicks in, Let Insurance Services are impressing on landlords to have their fire safety measures in place. They say shared housing is “seven times more likely to have a fire in the home.”
The company also believe more regulation needs to be implemented to ensure all rented properties are safe; up until now the only fire measures legally required are fire resistant furniture.
Michael Portman, Managing Director of Let Insurance Services explained more- “Landlords and agents have a ‘common law’ duty to ensure that their properties are kept free from hazards for the health and safety of their tenants, including fire hazards. We urge all landlords and agents to check that every smoke alarm is in working order and there are an adequate number of smoke alarms are installed. Particular attention should be paid to blocks of flats, where it is essential that smoke alarms are fitted in each flat and not just in the common areas.”
“Not having a working smoke alarm doubles the risk of death and with over 27,000 fires a year across the UK, there needs to be a change in legislation. Out of 50 people killed in house fires in West Yorkshire over the past five years, 48 were in rented accommodation. What’s more, one fire brigade said that they do 60,000 home safety checks a year and find many alarms that are not working.
While HMO landlords are required to maintain their fire precautions and post-1991 residential properties have to be fitted with mains powered fire alarms, buy to let landlords are not legally-bound to install fire alarms.
In the meantime, Let Insurance Services has compiled a do-to list for landlords that will go some way to keep their property fire-free.
- Fit battery (or mains) operated smoke alarms in your properties. Show your tenants how to test them, and change the batteries between tenancies
- At the start of the tenancy check that the battery works and demonstrate to the tenant that the alarm works
- Check whether your tenancy agreement requires the tenant to ensure the smoke alarm is in a working condition
- At your regular property inspections check the smoke alarms work. If they are not working, produce a new battery at the inspection to fit to the smoke alarm and ask the tenant to pay for the battery there and then
- Check that any working chimneys have been swept
- Make sure the insurance for both the building and the contents is up to date and appropriate for a tenanted property. This includes notifying your mortgage lender
- Check the inspection requirements under your policy if the property is untenanted
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