Do I need to provide fire-fighting equipment?

Do I need to provide fire-fighting equipment?

This is a tricky one. Depending on the type of property you have, the answer is different, however for a standard residential property (rather than an HMO), the straight answer is no. 

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However, many landlords and tenants feel happier if there is something in place should the worst happen. As long as you make sure you are meeting all the required fire safety regulations, there is no problem in providing that little extra safety net. 

Remember though, if you choose to take the full belt-and-braces approach, there are a few more requirements on you as the landlord. 

Training

If you provide any equipment, such as fire extinguishers, you must also provide the full manufacturer’s instructions to your tenants, and make sure that they are fully confident in how to use the equipment safely. You should get a signature from every tenant to prove that they have received the paperwork and received training on how to safely use the equipment. 

It is not enough to just show your tenant how to use the equipment though. You also need to ensure that your tenant knows when it is safe to use it. For example, it would not be safe to use a water extinguisher on an electric or chip pan fire – two very common examples of fire in the home environment. You would need to provide an appropriate type of extinguisher for relevant fires, and ensure that each tenant knows what to use, when to use it, and when a situation is far beyond their control. This can be quite in-depth training, and in the heat of the moment, even the best training can go out the window. Do consider this when wondering whether to include additional equipment. 

Maintenance

Additionally, all equipment that you provide must be maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. A poorly maintained extinguisher could do more harm than good! Ensure you understand the maintenance requirements, keep a record of the schedule, and build this into your regular property checks

What are mandatory fire safety regulations for landlords?

Different types of property require different levels of fire safety. Landlords who own standard residential properties, with a single resident or one family tenants, have a slightly easier time of it than HMO landlords when it comes to fire safety prep, but both have the same level of responsibility when it comes to keeping on top of maintenance. 

To meet the needs of standard residential properties:

  • There is no requirement to provide fire-fighting equipment
  • Working smoke detector on every floor of the property
  • Ensure there is clear access to escape routes at all times
  • Ensure any supplied furniture or furnishings are fire safe

Whereas HMO’s need to have:

  • Fire-fighting equipment – and the appropriate training/paperwork on how to use it
  • A hardwired smoke detector on every floor of the property
  • A fire blanket in a kitchen 
  • External doors that can be opened from the inside without a key
  • Emergency lighting
  • Documented fire escape route
  • Clear ‘Fire Exit’ signage
  • Ensure there is clear access to escape routes at all times
  • Ensure any supplied furniture or furnishings are fire safe
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