Fire safety risk assessment required?

by Readers Question

15:02 PM, 6th March 2018
About 9 months ago

Fire safety risk assessment required?

Make Text Bigger
Fire safety risk assessment required?

My question is quite simple it involves a fire assessment and whether I need to do one or not.

I understand you do not need to do a fire risk assessment for HMOs if their ‘joint tenancies’ or if their standard family lets.

However, what about a 4 bed licenced HMO previously let on a joint tenancy, but is now let to 2 unrelated people on 2 different tenancies? Would a risk assessment now need to be done?

I would not think so because 2 people does not become a HMO so not applicable?

Can someone tell me please

Tobias



Comments

Neil Patterson

15:17 PM, 6th March 2018
About 9 months ago

For a full HMO licence the requirements are >> https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/15652/HMO_Lic_landlords_guide.pdf

"When you are granted a licence it will come with
conditions attached to ensure that the standards in
your building continue to be kept. These are
mandator
y conditions which require the licence
holder to:
• produce an annual gas safety certificate
• keep electrical appliances and furniture supplied
by the landlord in a safe condition and to supply
declarations of their safety to the local council on
demand
• install smoke alarms and keep them in proper
working order and to supply to the local council,
on demand, a declaration of their positioning and
condition; and
• give the occupiers a statement of the terms on
which they occupy the HMO.
The council may also specify conditions such as
those relating to the facilities in the HMO, its
condition and the management of the building,
including how the licence holder deals with the
behaviour of occupiers."

No Mention of a fire safety risk assessment, but the local authorities could independently request one if you fall under their licensing scheme.

However, I am not an expert in this area.

John Frith

16:47 PM, 7th March 2018
About 9 months ago

I am not an expert - this is my understanding.
All housing is subject to the Housing Act 2004: part 1: Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). Some housing may also be subject to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

I would recommend that all landlords know about the (relatively) easy-to-read guide "HHSRS - Housing Health and Safety Rating System Guidance for Landlords and Property Related Professionals". (I wish I'd discovered this at the beginning of my research rather than at the end).

This identifies 29 categories of potential hazards, one of which is fire. Under HHSRA, a residential property should provide a safe and healthy environment. The guide explains how to make an assessment of the fire hazard in a residential dwelling.

My understanding is that HHSRS "requires" ANY LANDLORD OF ANY PROPERTY to make an assessment of all 29 risks, including a fire safety risk assessment.

If a council scheme "requires" an assessment, this is effectively enforcing the already existing legislative requirements.

I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong.

John Frith

16:56 PM, 7th March 2018
About 9 months ago

PS I spent an awful lot of time getting my head around the requirements, but I believe I'm a better landlord for it.

blair

2:27 AM, 8th March 2018
About 9 months ago

Why dont yu do a fire risk assessment any way? Any competent person with some building construction can do it there is no need for any fancy qualifications You must take a "look" at your building and the sources and risk of fire spreading as related to means of escape.

If you do one then you have it if its wrong thats okay too as long as you did it diligently thinking about the issues If later you realise you made a mistake you can merely revise it /update it

Tobias Nightingale

11:10 AM, 8th March 2018
About 9 months ago

Given the property in question standards is more than is required ie fire doors on all rooms smoke detectors in all the rooms, fire extinguishers to hand. Emergency lighting - the works. I don't particularly unless necessary pay for a fire assessment where closest assessor charges from £500 - to more for bigger hmo's. I realize you dont 'need' qualifications' however if a council really wanted they could argue you are not 'competent'

Yvonne Francis

11:52 AM, 10th March 2018
About 9 months ago

The problem with this posting is that you do not say whether you hold a HMO License. In lots of areas now where section 4 applies you would need a license for 4 unrelated tenants regardless of whether it was on a joint tenancy or not so I presume you have one? If you cut down to only two you would not need one but if you do you would have to revoke your license which personally I think inadvisable. So yes you do need to check your fire safety but as the others point out any competent person can do his even your self if you look up the regs. and it certainly is not rocket science.
However if you have never had a license and you are not in a selective licensing area and have only two tenants I do not think you would have to do anything.

Mandy Thomson

15:30 PM, 10th March 2018
About 9 months ago

If you don't let to any more people, you will not require a licence for just two unrelated tenants. Licensing is triggered by 3 unrelated people. As such, you're not required to carry out a fire risk assessment, but I would strongly advise you do, as you're tenants are relative strangers to each other. You will just need the usual smoke alarms on each floor and carbon monoxide alarms if you have any solid fuel appliances (such as an open fire or an Aga cooker).

If you do get an assessment, I disagree with the poster who said there is nothing to it - proper fire assessments require a good deal of knowledge and training, something I only appreciated after having one done myself last year. However, for one (non HMO licensed) home, your tenants might be able to get this done for free by their local fire brigade.

Tobias Nightingale

19:27 PM, 10th March 2018
About 9 months ago

Yep I absolutely have an Hmo licence, which I am glad to say the council does not charge to much for compared with other councils in spite of their rhetoric about landlords over the years. Thank you for the tip Mandy. What I find ridiciulous is if a property is under joint tenants you dont have to yet if it is not you do. I mean you quite easily have a group of friends on indiviudal tenancies just do not want to be liable for someones elses rent. Plus the idea people in a hmo will only interact with one another if its a joint tenancy is laughable also.

Rob Crawford

12:14 PM, 11th March 2018
About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mandy Thomson at 10/03/2018 - 15:30
A property is an HMO when 3 or more unrelated tenants occupy it, it does not need a licence unless additional and selective licensing is employed. Mandatory Licensing kicks in at five unrelated people.
https://www.gov.uk/house-in-multiple-occupation-licence

...this currently applies to 3 plus floor properties but will soon change to include 2 floors.

John Frith

1:58 AM, 14th March 2018
About 9 months ago

To those who are saying that a fire assessment doesn't (or may not) need to be done - please point out where in the Housing Act 2004 it says that if you're only renting to one or two people you don't have to worry about fire safety?

How can you check if the property you're going to rent out is fire safe unless you've done a fire safety assessment?

I find it worrying that people are looking to avoid this responsibility.


Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

And the landlord vote goes to - ?

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More