The Landlords And Tenant Act of 1985, Section 8, states that a “property should be fit for people to live in at the beginning of the tenancy” and that “the property should be kept in a fit state for people to live in during the tenancy”.
As a landlord you must safeguard your tenants from the risk of fire by ensuring that there is a suitable fire detection and fire alarm system installed, which is regularly maintained and tested. Electrical accidents are the primary cause of accidental domestic fires in the UK – loose connections in equipment, incorrect fuses or circuit-breakers can result in fire or overheated cables. Of course, many fires usually start in the kitchen caused by cooking appliances, and other causes of fire include cigarettes, candles and clothes hung over heaters to dry. A correctly installed and maintained fire alarm will alert all occupants of a fire in its early stages, allowing them to escape safely before escape routes become blocked by smoke or fire. You should consult a fire alarm specialist if you do not, currently, have a fire alarm system installed in your premises.
A small, single-family house will only require smoke alarms on each storey of the premises on which there is a room, while large HMOs (houses with multiple occupants) will require a system which includes smoke and heat detectors that are linked to a control panel and alarm sounders. All residential premises where people are sleeping should have some form of automatic fire detection and warning system. A carbon monoxide alarm should also be equipped in any room of the premises which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and the premises contains a solid, fuel-burning combustion appliance, attached garage or fireplace.
The basic, weekly, routine testing of fire alarm systems can usually be carried out by a landlord or tenant. Larger, complex systems should have their tests recorded in a log book and retained on site. Checks must be made by or on behalf of the landlord to ensure that each prescribed alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins.
In the event of a fire, your tenants must be able to find their way out of the property to a place of safety. This requires a planned escape route which is kept free from clutter and has sufficient lighting to allow for a fast and safe escape.
If a fire occurs at night, people will usually be awoken abruptly and disorientated. They will move quickly in distress and panic – it is vital, therefore, that staircases and escape routes are adequately illuminated.
Buildings such as those with lengthy exit routes, complex layouts, no natural or borrowed lighting along the escape route, or those accommodating vulnerable/at risk people (eg, wheelchair users), will also need emergency lighting covering the escape route.
Safety Checked can provide a full Fire Alarm Installation, Servicing and Maintenance solution, including Emergency Lighting install and checks. We are experienced at carrying out servicing and checks of fire and electrical systems for social housing, student lettings and private landlords throughout County Durham and the North East.
As well as carrying out electrical repairs, Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) and installation, our Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR) are a cost-effective way to ensure that you are meeting your legal and mandatory obligations for electrical safety.