Does Fire Safety Law apply to me?
If you are a landlord who is responsible for any residential accommodation which is not a house shared by one family then the Fire Safety Order will apply to the premises.
This includes houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), purpose-built and converted flats, and flats and residential accommodation above commercial premises.
If you are responsible for a flat above a commercial property such as a shop or takeaway, then you must ensure that anyone living in the flat can escape safely.
Changes to Fire Safety Laws affecting Landlords
From 1 October 2023, the Fire Safety Order will contain new requirements that affect landlords.
The new requirements which apply to all premises are:
- A requirement to record the fire risk assessment in writing
- A requirement to record the fire safety arrangements in writing
- A requirement to record the details of the person who has made the fire risk assessment for the premises - if you use an outside company you must also record the organisation they work for
- If your business operates in a multi-occupied premises you must take steps to identify other responsible persons in the building – this includes the landlord, any management company and other businesses operating in the same premises
- If you sell or transfer your business you must pass on fire safety information to the person or organisation taking over the business
For landlords, there are additional requirements and you must also provide residents with the following information:
- Any risks to residents identified in the fire risk assessment
- The fire safety measures provided to ensure residents are safe – for example what measures you have in place to prevent fire spreading, any fire alarm system and what to do in the event of a fire
- Your name and a UK address
- The identity of any person you have appointed to assist you with making or reviewing the fire risk assessment
- The identity of any competent person you have to implement firefighting measures
- Any risks to relevant persons throughout the building that have been identified by other Responsible Persons in the building – for example if there is a commercial premises in the same building
Where can I get advice?
Advice on the changes to the Fire Safety Order can be found in the Government’s guidance on Fire safety responsibilities under Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022.
The advice you need to follow to make sure you have the right fire safety provisions for your premises will depend on the size of the premises and how it is used.
For HMOs including flats that were converted before 1991, you should follow the specific guidance for HMOs which can be found in the LACoRS 'Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing' (PDF, 1.6MB)
For accommodation above commercial premises you may need to refer to more than one Guide – if the accommodation is a HMO you should refer to the guidance above but if it is occupied by a single person or a family you may need to refer to the ‘Fire Risk Assessment: Sleeping Accommodation’ guide.
For flats the relevant guidance will depend on the size of the building.
In small blocks of flats which are purpose built or converted after 1991 where the building is up to three stories and there are no more than six flats the ‘Guide to making your small block of flats safe from fire’ should be used.
For all other blocks of flats with more than 6 flats you should refer to the ‘Purpose Built Blocks of Flats Guide’ which was originally produced in 2011 by the Local Government Association but should note that this is due to be updated soon and is no longer considered comprehensive.
If there are any shared escape routes then the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 will apply to your premises – more information about the Regulations and guidance on how to comply.
For more expert advice, please visit the 'Who Can Help Me?' section of the Fire Safety Law webpage.
You can get more information on your responsibilities as a landlord from your Local Housing Authority.
Do I need to fit smoke alarms?
Since October 2015 the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 have required private landlords to:
- Fit at least one smoke alarm on each floor
- Fit a carbon monoxide alarm in all rooms containing a solid fuel appliance
- Check that all alarms are working when a new tenancy starts
The Regulations were amended in 2022 and now apply to social landlords and also require landlords to ensure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced once informed and found that they are faulty. The Regulations are enforced by Local Authorities.
More information can be found in the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022: guidance for landlords and tenants.