Fire Safety and Security: The Landlord’s Responsibilities
It’s estimated that around 3.9 million people are currently renting homes in the UK – a figure that has risen from 2.2 million ten years ago.
Whatever may be the reason for this, whether fluctuating house prices or growing personal debt, it has put more and more power in the hands of landlords.
With so many now living in rented accommodation, regulation of the practices of landlords has never been more pertinent – particularly in regards to their responsibilities when it comes to fire safety and home security.
Fire Safety Responsibilities
The vast majority of a landlord’s responsibilities when it comes to fire safety within their properties are dictated by the Housing Act 2004 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Whether a ‘house in multiple occupation’ (HMO) with several unrelated inhabitants, or a domestic or commercial property in which communal areas exist between residents, a landlord’s duties rarely change.
The Fire Safety Order names landlords among their ‘responsible persons’ in charge of carrying out thorough and regular fire risk assessments at their properties. This entails a full inspection of the premises, identifying any areas which may be at risk from fire, and combating any hazards found. An evacuation route must be determined, and sufficient equipment to alert inhabitants to a blaze must be installed – specifically smoke detectors and fire alarms.
There are a number of other steps that landlords are expected to take in regards to fire safety at their tenanted properties. For example, any furnished homes should be provided with fire safe furniture, and in the case of HMOs, fire extinguishers and other firefighting tools must also be provided – usually located in a kitchen area.
The ‘LACORS – Fire Safety’ guide is perhaps the most comprehensive for landlords to gain a better understanding of their fire safety responsibilities.
While there are no explicit legal specifications with regards to providing security facilities within their properties, landlords are required to keep all elements of the home or commercial premises in good repair.
This means that the upkeep of many security features are the responsibility of the property owner. For example, windows and doors that are substandard in the defence against burglary would need replacing – particularly if they have been damaged and are now vulnerable to intruders.
Similarly, any security equipment installed at the property, such as a burglar alarm, will need properly maintaining by the landlord in order to keep them in compliance with the law.
However, it is within the interest of the landlord to keep the property as safe as possible from the threat of burglary. In this instance, a tenant may discuss any security issues with their landlord, pointing out any areas of the house that might be vulnerable that have gone unnoticed. The landlord is under no legal obligation to rectify the issue (provided it does not constitute damage to the property), but will often be willing to address the matter in order to maintain the premises, keeping it in the best condition possible.
With over 50 years of experience in the industry, AAI Security Systems are the number one providers of fire safety and security equipment across the London area and beyond. Our expert team can provide advice and assistance for all landlords, helping them to keep residential and commercial properties safe and in compliance with the law.
From bespoke alarm systems tailored to the needs of the premises, to a wide range of fire alarm and extinguishers suited to all environments, get in contact with AAI Security Systems today for more information.