Fire, gas and electrical safety
Fire safety measures are an important consideration for all rented property, as fire is more likely to occur in a rented property than in an owner-occupied home. The risk of a fire increases with the number of occupants and the government recognises that there is a particular risk of fire in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), especially if the tenants do not know each other.
All private sector landlords are legally required to install at least one smoke alarm on every storey of their rented property.
A carbon monoxide detector is also required in any habitable room containing a solid fuel burning appliance, for example an open fire or a wood burning stove.
Landlords have a responsibility to make sure these alarms are in a proper working order at the start of each new tenancy (excluding renewals of existing tenancies) made from 1 October 2015 and to make sure that there is a record of these alarms being tested.
Find out more on GOV.UK's Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms: explanatory booklet for landlords to help landlords further understand and comply with the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.
Landlords should be aware that these Regulations do not contain all of the fire safety requirements which their premises may be subject to, for example additional alarms will be required in houses in multiple occupation e.g. bedsits that do not require a licence. For more information please refer to the Council’s Fire Safety Guide.
Landlords are also required to comply with their responsibilities under Gas Safety legislation.
The legislation is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive and requires, among other things, that all gas appliances are checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer and a copy of the certificate is provided to the tenants. You can find a suitably qualified engineer on the Gas Safe website.
Some other key pieces of legislation to note are:
- The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
- The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006
- Housing Act 2004, Part 1
- The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
- The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988
The risk of a fire increases with the number of occupants, especially if the tenants do not know each other. Please download our guide to Fire Safety in HMOs:
Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)
Landlords of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) are legally obliged to have a periodic inspection carried out on the property every five years.
Other rental properties
If your property is not an HMO, you are not legally obliged to do this. However, it is recommended that a periodic inspection and test is carried out by a registered electrician on your rental properties at least every five years.
Electrical Safety First
Electrical Safety First (formerly the Electrical Safety Council) have developed a free smartphone app that allows anyone to do a quick, visual check, to ensure their home is electrically safe.
Designed to be as easy-to-use as possible, the app highlights potential dangers in each room and explains how to resolve simple, non-technical problems. Where more serious issues are flagged, people are advised to use a registered electrician.
The app is available for use on Android phones and on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.