Fire Regulation for HMOs – Landlords Question

by Readers Question

22:30 PM, 2nd July 2013
About 7 years ago

Fire Regulation for HMOs – Landlords Question

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Fire Regulation for HMOs – Landlords Question

I have conducted a fire risk assessment for one of my properties, a non-licenseable HMO with 4 bedrooms.

The report recommendations includes the following 2 items:

1. As I provide fire extinguishers in the property, the tenants should be trained on how to use them ! Has anybody else heard of this requirement, how can I satisfy this ?

2. The property has an interlinked fire alarm system with control pannel, according to BS5839 Part 1 or Part 6A. The assessment states that such a system should be tested weekly according to the current fire protection guideline. As this is a guidance only, I could test the system less frequently but then in a case of fire I would be responsible in front of the law as to why I did not comply with the guidance. Again, has any body heard of this requirement, are the other HMO landlords testing their fire alarms weekly ?

I would appreciate if other HMO landlords would share from their experience.

Thanks

Cristian

Fire regulation for HMO's


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Comments

Mark Alexander

22:50 PM, 2nd July 2013
About 7 years ago

I know very little about HMO's Christian as I don't own any. Unless the regulations say you must have fire extinguishers though logic tells me you should remove them. For safety reasons surely it makes more sense for your tenants to vacate than to put their lives at risk fighting fires?

You will no doubt be insured against fire so why waste money of fire extinguishers and training and put the lives of your tenants at risk if you don't need to?

I suggest your first question should be "show me the legislation"

9:43 AM, 3rd July 2013
About 7 years ago

Cristian there are many ways around this BUT the key point is here that if something does go wrong then you will be punished by law. We have cleaners that go in once a week every Monday and they have been trained on how to run the tests, we also have our own maintenance guy who runs a check every time he is at a property and we also train the tenants.

Sally T

12:57 PM, 3rd July 2013
About 7 years ago

Hi, We have 2 HMO's, one is licensed and one isn't (but we did have the council come inspect it so we could meet the relevant regulations).
Our licence conditions state that we have to have fire extinguishers, but when we had the fire chief came round to inspect our communal areas he said they prefer people to just leave, so really it's a no win situation.
As a victim of a property fire, if the fire was small I would prefer the tenant tried to put it out as the smoke damage caused by even the smallest fire can cost thousands to put right, but I would never expect anyone to put their lives at risk.
We collect our rents weekly so test our fire alarms whilst we're there.

Mark Alexander

13:07 PM, 3rd July 2013
About 7 years ago

I shared this discussion with the HMO Facebook group and there are also comments there from experienced HMO landlords - see >>> https://www.facebook.com/groups/housesofmultipleoccupancy/615939238425564/?notif_t=group_comment

PS - If you are a Facebook user and also an HMO Landlords the facebook group I've linked to above is an excellent one to become a member of.

Cristian Stoian

16:31 PM, 3rd July 2013
About 7 years ago

Hi Sally. Strange situation about the fire extinguishers. I also called the Fire Brigade and they told me the same thing, they don't even ask for fire estinguishers in blocks of flats. However, the Local Authority is asking for their provision based on the Housing Act.

philip allen

21:09 PM, 3rd July 2013
About 7 years ago

Cristian,
Fill your tenants with copious amounts of alcohol and they sure as hell will find out how the fire extinguishers work 🙂

4:35 AM, 4th July 2013
About 7 years ago

Fire extinguishers are there to protect the means of escape; NOT as initial FF media.
However if by using one it puts the fire out and enable you to vacate then so much the better.
A fire blanket is the most useful of devices as most problems tend to occur in the kitchen.
The other good measure is to ensure that ALL doors are SHUT when leaving the property or when sleeping.
a bog standard door can be of great use in holding back smoke; which is what kills.
Very few people ever get burnt to death.
They have usually been rendered unconscious with 2 mins of a fire breaking out by the products of combustion.
Best thing to do is WAKE UP and GET OUT and then call the FB.
Smoke detectors will wake you up
The question you need to ask is could you and fellow occupants vacate the property if everything was BLACK and HOT.
What about the keys to exit the front door; would you be able to locate them if you could NOT see them!!??
Something to think about.
Me I have a front door which DOESN'T require keys to open it from the inside; so I don't need to concern myself with where the keys are.
Where do you put the keys to the DG window units!?
They should be in each lock ready to be used.
Where are the keys to other exits; are they needed, where are they, could you identify in the dark and do ALL the occupants know where those keys are.
I can assure anyone it is possible in total hot smokey darkness to be lost in your own house in a space 2 m x 2m.
Most disconcerting and that is from someone who used to do it for a living.

Cristian Stoian

20:37 PM, 4th July 2013
About 7 years ago

Sally, thanks. So what do you tell your tenants, to use the extinguishers or not ? If yes, do you train your tenants how to use them ?


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