Do I need a Fire Risk Assessment?

19 September 2012

It’s one of the most common questions I hear when I am out visiting clients: “But do I really need a fire risk assessment?”

To be honest, it isn’t really surprising – as current fire safety guidance on rented and private residential accommodation can be confusing, even some big names in property management are getting caught out. So I’ve decided to write a series of blogs looking at different scenarios and explaining just who and who doesn’t need a fire risk assessment. There’ll be a new one each month but of course, if you are in any way concerned, just drop us a line and we will be able to confirm there and then.

So this week, we start with Landlords.

If you are the Landlord of any type of property, you do need a fire safety assessment unless you fill ALL of the following criteria:

  • The property is a private residence, what the Fire Safety Order terms as a “domestic premises”
  • The property is being let as a single domestic premises
  • The property is not subdivided in any way i.e. a mix of residential and commercial
  • The property is not sublet in any way
  • There are no shared or common areas

Fire safety guidance around the above issues are complex and there can be difficulty determining if the premises are private rented, a shared house, HMO (of varying types) and residential flats.  The best way to find out if the Fire Safety Order applies is to call us, but below are a few typical scenarios.

Scenario 1.

You are buying a new house and, rather than sell your old house, you have decided to rent it out. You rent the house to a family who will continue to use the property as a family home.  In this scenario, the landlord does not need a fire risk assessment.

Scenario 2.

You are buying a new house and, rather than sell your old house, you have decided to rent it out. It is a large house and you decide to offer it to students. Each will have their own private living area, which will be locked, but there will be some areas of shared accommodation, such as the kitchen and bathroom.

In this scenario, depending on if the students are living a “family group” it may be termed a shared house and the Fire Safety Order would not apply, and the landlord does not need a Fire Risk Assessment.   Depending on the terms of the lease however it could be considered a HMO where the Order would apply to the common areas, there is also an overlap in legislation here under the Housing Act 2004 which would apply to all of the premises not just the common areas, this is a complex area so best to chat to us if you have any doubts.

Scenario 3.

You own or acquire a property that is purpose built or has been converted to self-contained residential flats.  The Fire Safety Order applies to the common areas i.e. staircases and corridors, lift motor rooms and also includes the flat doors but not the private flat.  A fire risk assessment is required of the common areas under Article 9 of the Order.

If you are in any doubt, call TFS or any reputable Fire Safety Consultants for peace of mind that you are compliant.


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