Regulations for Commercial Property Rental

by Readers Question

4 years ago

Regulations for Commercial Property Rental

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Regulations for Commercial Property Rental

We are renting a small shop in our home town. My question is what regulations do we have to follow regards fire safety?

Do we need to install mains fitted smoke alarms, or standard battery alarms, and is it our responsibility to carry out a fire safety risk assessment. Regulations for Commercial Property Rental

Also with there being a hot water cylinder, does the responsibility for checking for legionaries fall on the landlord or the tenant?

The shop is being rented out on a full repairing lease.

Thanks

James



Comments

Mike Tighe

4 years ago

Dear James. My understanding is that as you are running a business you are responsible for all health and safety including fire safety of staff, customers, contractors, visitors etc...
The Fire Risk Association website says : "The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RR(FS)O) replaces most fire safety legislation with one order. It means that any person who has some level of control in premises must take steps to reduce the risk from fire, consider how to contain a fire should one break out and then also make sure people can safely escape if there is a fire.
These fire safety rules affecting all non-domestic premises in England and Wales came into force on 1 October 2006. In England and Wales, under the Order, anyone who has control of premises or anyone who has a degree of control over certain areas or systems may be a ‘Responsible Person’.............." – so that's you !
It is explained in the FRA website under their resources section here
http://www.fia.uk.com/en/fire-safety-order/fire-safety-order.cfm
There is some guidance here on the gov website
https://www.gov.uk/workplace-fire-safety-your-responsibilities/fire-risk-assessments

Before you get too concerned about what is needed you do need to carry out a Fire Risk assessment. If you read up enough you can carry this out yourself (you need to be a 'competent person') but best way is to pay someone to do this for you - doesn't usually cost too much, a tenant of ours paid about £250 for a takeaway restaurant. The cost comes in when you then have to comply with recommendations which will depend on the type and age of the building, the nature of the business, whether there is residential accommodation above etc... This may include an alarm system, or smoke alarms, improvements to fire doors, fire exit signs, fire extinguishers regularly serviced, keeping a log, staff training, a Fire Action Plan etc.... hopefully it might just be some smoke alarms and new signage and a log book.
If you do a search for Fire alarms, or Fire Protection or Fire Risk in your area you'll find that the local companies who supply equipment will also undertake a Fire Risk assessment.
Or knock on a few doors of other local businesses near by and find out who they use. (although you might be shocked to find how many have never done it !)

With regards the hot water, again because you are on a full repairing lease (which is normal for commercial property) which probably also requires you to comply with all relevant regulations, laws and by laws, I think this is for you to sort out. You should also probably have an electrical safety test (every 5 years) and a gas safety test (annually). If you don't have these, in the event of a claim, your landlords building insurance might not pay out if you have not complied with your responsibilities and may chase you via your business insurance. Lets hope it never comes to that !
Good Luck
Mike
PS if there areas of the premises which are shared, then all of you who use it have a shared responsibility to ensure it is also safe (eg. you are responsible for your staff or visitors), although who pays for any improvements or repairs is more arguable

Mark Alexander

4 years ago

Hi James

Are you the landlord or the tenant?

If you are the tenant, i.e. the person running the business then Mike Tighe makes some good points.

However, if you are the landlord and the property has been let on an FRI basis then I would argue that the points raised are the tenants responsibility.
.

Chelsea Potter

4 years ago

Hi James,

To answer your question, it depends on whether you are the landlord or not. As you mention renting, it won't be your responsibility to carry out any fire prevention measures.

Your landlord will have to carry out a risk assessment and add suitable fire prevention measures in the shop. If there isn't do query this. As you say small shop you won't need a mains alarm but a battery powered smoke alarm - see this post for more information http://www.firesafetystore.co.uk/landlords-guide-to-fire-safety-inspections.html

Your landlord will have had to carry out all necessary inspections before you moved in and he should be liable for repairs. This should be the case but i would check your contract to be certain and any issues you have, raise with him.


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