Do landlords have to provide a fire risk assessment?

As a landlord of a building, whether that is a single private dwelling or a larger HMO (house in multiple occupation) property, you have a duty of care to your tenants that you must fulfil, and most importantly, you have a legal responsibility to ensure that your tenants and the wider property are safe from the risk of fire.

This advice and guidance article covers what a fire risk assessment is, whether landlords have to provide a fire risk assessment for the properties they manage, and what your responsibilities are as a landlord in regard to fire safety.

What is a fire risk assessment?

A basic description of a fire risk assessment is that it is a review taken of a premises to assess it for fire risk, and to provide recommendations or actions to make it safer if need be.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 as amended by the Fire Safety Act 2021 requires a fire risk assessment to be carried out for almost all non-domestic and some other types of domestic properties. A fire risk assessment is also required in communal areas of blocks of flats, an important factor to consider for landlords. This will include upto and including the front door of flats.

Do landlords have to provide a fire risk assessment?

In accordance with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, completing a fire risk assessment for your premises is a legal requirement if you are responsible for a building that is not a ‘single private dwelling’. Other than single private dwellings, a fire risk assessment is a legal requirement in almost all other types of premises (such as a rental property).

As a landlord, properties that are registered as a multiple occupation (HMO), and any other rented properties that aren’t classified as a ‘single private dwelling’ (two or more individual households) and have communal living spaces like kitchens are legally required to have a fire risk assessment completed for the premises, as well as circulation spaces to and from the private dwellings such as corridors and staircases.

It is mandatory by law for the ‘Responsible Person’ to record all findings of the fire risk assessment, including any action taken or action still to be taken. As of the 1st of October 2023, the Building Safety Act 2022 came into effect with Section 156 amending the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, setting the requirement for all fire risk assessments to be recorded irrespective of the number of employees or whether there is a license in force.

What are your responsibilities as a landlord regarding fire safety?

You have a duty of care to your residents as the landlord of a property when it comes to fire safety and complying with legislation such as the Housing Act 2004 and the Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations. As of the 1st of April 2023, the Building Safety Act 2022 was enforced with the legislation intended to improve the design, construction and management of higher-risk buildings. Forming part of your wider fire risk assessment, there are many specific responsibilities that you have to ensure that your tenants are safe from the risk of fire. These responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Provide working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms throughout the building. Provide a smoke alarm on each floor of your residential accommodation and ensure that regular checks and inspections are completed. In addition to this, provide a working carbon monoxide alarm in any room that has a solid fuel-burning appliance such as an open fire. The fire alarm system can be designed as a mixture of BS 5839 Part 6 (domestic) and BS 5839 Part 1 (commercial).
  • Ensure that all tenants always have access to safe and reliable fire escape routes. These escape routes should have sufficient emergency lighting and should be clear to provide safe escape in the event of a fire. Ensure that all occupants are made aware of what to do in an emergency through the application of an evacuation plan. Ensure that occupants understand the different types of fire hazards (and potential fire risk) and how to mitigate against these.
  • Put in place suitable fire safety measures, such as fire doors, and ensure that these are regularly inspected and maintained by a suitably qualified and competent contractor in accordance with legislation. Use fire resistant materials where appropriate. Provide fire extinguishers on each floor and fire blankets to tenants too.
  • Carry out a fire risk assessment for each of your premises and ensure that all points raised in the review are actioned and recorded. It is recommended that your fire risk assessment should be reviewed at least once every 12 months, but you should update your fire risk assessment should there be any change in circumstances to your building e.g. a change in use of the building.

How can the FPA help?

The Fire Protection Association can remove the stress of undertaking a fire safety risk assessment by providing a consultant who is suitably experienced in your specific industry sector. After working alongside your responsible persons, our risk assessment experts will produce a report which includes a fire risk assessment record of significant findings, a clear and concise fire safety plan detailing actions recommended, and a full fire risk assessment of the building.

Our highly experienced team of professional fire risk assessors can carry out a fire risk assessment in a variety of premises including retail centres, individual shops, healthcare buildings, industrial buildings, factories, historic buildings, commercial buildings, hotels, schools, and blocks of flats, amongst others.

To have the FPA undertake either an initial report or review your fire risk assessment, email or call us on 01608 812 500. Find out more about the FPA’s fire risk assessment services.

Please be aware that considerable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within this article at the time of publication, however any legislative (or other) changes that come into effect after this may render the information out of date until it is reviewed and updated as part of the FPA’s content review cycle.