Guidelines for landlordsAccording to Checkfire (leading UK manufacturer of fire safety equipment:) “Fire is among the most prominent risks to homeowners and occupiers – and its effects can be catastrophic and devastating. Every year, there are over 50,000 fires in dwellings in the UK. In recent years, health and safety regulations for property landlords have been dramatically stepped up to ensure everything possible is being done to protect tenants from the risk of fire.” Click here to find out more.

This Checkfire article covers key areas such as:

  • Landlords legal obligations
  • Rules and regulations for HMO’s
  • Equipment required including extinguishers, alarms and fire doors
  • Safety signage
  • Risk Assessments and safety checks
  • Importance of equipment servicing

Main Causes of Fires in Rental Properties

The three main causes of fires in rental properties are from smoking, furniture and furnishings and electrical or gas faults.

Since the ‘No Smoking’ Act came into force in 2007, less and less people tend to smoke and more and more private landlords stipulate that tenants must be ‘non-smokers’.  It is of course difficult to monitor this but a discernible landlord will be carrying out regular property inspections either personally or by an agent.  It’s very difficult to hide the smell of smoke in a property and if the tenant is breaking the tenancy rules by smoking, landlords have the right to give them notice to leave. If smoking is permitted, landlords must provide sufficient smoke alarms in all areas where smoking is allowed.

Unfortunately, there are still many rogue landlords who don’t care whom they let their property too and fires caused by smoking are more likely to occur in these properties which are not subject to regular inspections. 

It also a statutory obligation for all upholstered furniture and furnishings in rented properties to be fire resistant, featuring the symbol that confirms it is fire resistant.

Upholstered furniture includes sofas and armchairs; beds, headboards and mattresses; sofa beds and futons; nursery and children's furniture; loose and stretch covers for furniture; cushions and seat pads.

A private landlord has to carry three main legal responsibilities when it comes to gas appliances: gas safety checks, a gas safety record and maintenance. The tenant should be provided with a copy of this certificate.  The aim of this regulation is to avoid gas explosions or gas leaks which can be very dangerous.  Similarly, electrical equipment provided by the landlord (eg electric fires or cookers) should be certified that they are safe.  This however does not apply to equipment belonging to the tenant such as TV’s computer equipment, electric radiators etc. However, most landlords who want to protect their rental property will have a clause in the tenancy agreement about issues such as overloaded sockets, for example.  Again, any issues like this should be identified during a regular inspection.

There are very specific regulations around these issues including:

  • Gas Safety (Installations and Use) Regulations 1998 which relats to use of gas appliances, fittings and flues in domestic and commercial premises.
  • Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 requires landlords to certify and evidence that all electrical appliances and systems provided as part of the tenancy are safe.
  • Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 requires that all furniture and furnishings (excluding carpets, curtains and duvets) provided by a landlord must meet set levels of fire resistance.

Fire Safety Equipment for Private Rental Properties

In addition to smoke alarms, it is recommended that a private landlord includes the following fire safety equipment in their private rental property:

  • Fire blanket: this is particularly important in a kitchen as nearly two thirds of all househoulds fires start in the kitchen. This blanket should only be used on small flames; a large and rapidly growing fire will require immediate evacuation.
  • For personal use, a wet chemical aerosol fire extinguisher is an alternative option. They are smaller than standard extinguishers that need fixings or stands to secure them (though they do need to be stored safely and away from flammable materials). These extinguishers are ideal for personal use in case of a small fire.  They come in variety of types to deal with different types of fires including dry powder or a cooking fire version for us specifically in cooking areas. These extinguishers don’t need any type of annual maintenance and be disposed after use.

Hartson Fire

Hartson Fire is a leading supplier of Checkfire fire safety equipment to businesses and homes across South Wales.  To check out our full range of products, visit our website ( or call us on the number below for advice and guidance:

Guidelines for Landlords