Inventories key to fire safety

Inventories key to fire safety

0:01 AM, 9th May 2023, About A year ago

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Inventories play a key role in protecting tenants from house fires, according to an industry figure.

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) believes running through safety protocols and properly monitoring during tenancies can prevent fires and save lives.

Rescue services attended 33,390 domestic fires in Britain last year.

‘Inventory process is the ideal opportunity to check things out’

Daniel Evans, chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks, said: “As far as fire safety is concerned, there are two things at play for landlords.

“There are the minimum compliance checks required by legislation. But additional measures can also be taken to further reduce the risk of fire and keep tenants safe. And the inventory process is the ideal opportunity to check things out.”

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires landlords to “eliminate or reduce the risk of fire as far as is reasonably practical”.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 requires all landlords to make sure there’s at least one smoke alarm on each storey of their home where there is a room used as living accommodation.

Landlords must also ensure that there’s a carbon monoxide detector in any room with a fixed combustion appliance such as a wood-burning stove.

Keep written records

Alarms must be tested at the start of each new tenancy and landlords are responsible for repairing or replacing if there are faults.

Mr Evans added: “All of this can be done at the inventory stage and it’s a good idea to do this in front of the tenants and keep written records which can be signed by all parties and can then be made part of the inventory.

“Landlords should consider providing sturdy step-stools, or a safe stepladder if there are high ceilings, to test and switch off ringing alarms.”

All ‘escape routes’ in the property should be accessible

The ACCI recommends items such as sofas and their covers have fire-resistance labels on them and not to buy second-hand furniture which is missing these labels.

Mr Evans says landlords should make sure that all ‘escape routes’ in the property should be accessible.

He said: “Landlords should make sure that ‘escape routes’ – ie hallways, stairs and landings – are not cluttered with, for example, bins, bicycles or suitcases. Try to ensure there’s space for these items in other parts of the premises.

“If you have a single-let rental rather than an HMO, you don’t have to provide fire extinguishers or fire blankets but think about having them anyway.

“Make sure tenants have instructions – but remind them it’s not their duty to fight fires, as it may be safest to leave the property.”

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