Fire safety – What are the requirements?

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  • Fire safety – What are the requirements?

What are the fire safety requirements for the house or flat I let out?

There are various regulations to be aware of. The first one is the regulatory reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which came into force 2006.

These requirements lay out various items for landlords to deal with. But they also give a guide through LACORs about housing and fire safety. This is in agreement with the chief fire officers association. It gives a guideline of what needs to be carried out.

The purpose of the guide is to ensure that it gives guidance for landlords. However, also help fire safety enforcement officers. Local authorities will use this on their fire safety. They will ensure that residential accommodation has adequate safety. It gives practical advice on fire risk assessments. It contains case studies for fire safety solutions. One of the most important guides for a landlord. Please see attached landlords safety responsibilities.

What type of properties does it cover?

It covers the following: –

  • Single household properties
  • Shared houses
  • Bedsit HMOs
  • Purpose built flats and buildings converted into self-contained flats. Flats to a standard not in compliance with building regulations 1991.
  • Sheltered accommodation where personal care isn’t provided
  • Small hostels to which the Government sleeping accommodation.

The guide is not applicable where the property was constructed on converted to a standard in compliance with Building Regulations 1991. If the building were converted and maintained later then it would need to meet the current standards. It was intended that the original construction or conversion scheme should be under Building Regulations. However, there are buildings that did comply but no longer. They have deteriorated significantly through a lack of maintenance. They have damage or other alterations that it may require additional measures. The guide would then apply.

It is also not intended to apply to the following:

  1. Guest Houses and bed and breakfast accommodation used by tourists.
  2. Hotels and Motels
  3. Last Hostels which the HM Government guidance is more appropriate.
  4. Refugees such as family accommodation centres and halfway houses
  5. Residential health and beauty spas centres
  6. Residential conference, seminar, and training centres
  7. Student halls of residence and areas of student accommodation other than training institutions including military back up style quarters.
  8. Areas of buildings and boarding schools that provide sleeping accommodation.
  9. Seminaries and other religious colleges
  10. Sheltered accommodation where personal care is provided.
  11. Residential care homes
  12. Holiday chalets and complexes, camping and caravan parks except where privately owned individual units are in.
  13. Areas in workplaces where staff are sleeping in as a condition of employment.
  14. A business requirement as in hotels but not included in tied accommodation.
  15. Separate flats for business occupation.
  16. Houses that are part of HMOs and accommodation above commercial.

Those types of property fall under the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005.

What else is in the guide?

There is a full section on fire risk assessment (see our previous article). It lays out that the fire risk assessment needs to be carried out by landlords every 5 years.  It is critical to understand that as a landlord you are responsible. There are consequences if it does not take place.

The guide outlines where there are shortfalls regarding a lack of fire protection. This can be between an individual flat and a common escape route. This can be directly attributed to an owner of a building. If the managing agent cannot enforce improvement, the occupant is held responsible. It just depends on how they have tried to resolve it. If an individual lessee denies access, then they may be liable. Managing agents and right to manage companies are also responsible.

You need to be aware that if common ways are not adequately protected from the effects from a fire. Individual dwellings and negligent/inaction by individual tenants/owners. If they fail to carry out their duty in relation to the fire. It is an offence in Article 32(1)(a) of the order which can be punishable in a criminal court. Or if the failure to carry out duty is demonstrable as a joint failure. This is where the managing agent they can also be found culpable under Article 32(10).

For instance, in Leicester a landlord was sentenced to eight months in prison for ignoring fire regulations. He was lucky because he had ignored fire risks, but no one had died. He was warned if they had he would be spending a lot longer in prison. This is how important it is.

LACORs gives you outlines for general principals of fire risk reduction. Which would in effect come under the fire risk assessment in any event.

This would include general fire risk safety principals:

  1. escape routes.
  2. habitable basements
  3. unoccupied basements and cellars
  4. inner rooms
  5. galleries
  6. requirement for escape windows
  7. protection of routes and stairs
  8. exit doors.
  9. secondary means of escape.
  10. external stairways
  11. fire separation and compartmentation
  12. fallen ceiling partitions.
  13. automatic fire detection and alarm systems.

They will also include lighting of escape routes. These need to come on when there is a fire. It needs to show the emergency escape route for lighting. Also, any firefighting equipment that is necessary. There are various items in relation to water suppressing. However, fire safety signs together with the floor coverings and a whole host of items that it lays out.

Are there different types of fire alarm systems?

There are different types of fire alarms such as battery operated as well as automatic fire detection. Warning systems under BS5839: Part 1 section 6

These contains various recommendations for routine testing as well as lays out the different grades as follows: –

Grade A system

Routine testing of at least one detector. Call point in each zone. Tests are weekly. This is to ensure that they have a correct operation of the system. Defects recorded. Action then needs to be taken to correct it.

Routine maintenance 

A six-monthly service should be carried out by a qualified person. You should have a maintenance agreement.  It entails a full test to ensure compliance as specified in BS5839: part 1 section 6. This should be recorded in a logbook. It should show the periodic inspection test and when done.

Grade D and E systems

Routing testing – these systems should be tested every month by use of a test button on a smoke alarm.

Routing maintenance – all alarms should be cleaned periodically in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations

All systems

It is recommended that all detectors should be tested at least once a year. Tests should not involve the use of open flame. They should include any other smoke or nonspecific aerosol that could contaminate the detection chamber. Suitable specific testing aerosols are available. a maintenance will be needed. Logbooks are needed for records. A periodic inspection test certificate issued.

The guide is comprehensive. It will give you an outline of anything that you need. It is also easy to read.

What are the definitions on the property descriptions that they have laid out in their report? –

1. Single household occupancy.

This relates to houses, flats and maisonettes occupied by a person who is living as a single household. The term ‘household’ means a single person. It can also mean members of the same family who are living together. For instance, family means specific relatives, parents, grandparents, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, etc.

2. Shared houses.

There is no legal definition of a ‘shared house’ so the term can sometimes be confusing. However, whilst shared houses fall within the legal definition of an HMO they will need a license. They can present a lower risk. Above all, traditional HMOs present a higher risk. However, it could include work colleagues or friends as joint tenants.

Each occupant has their own bedroom. However, they share a kitchen, dining room facilities, WC, living room. All the tenants have exclusive legal possession. They control of all parts of the house including all the bedrooms. However, there is a significant degree of social interaction between the occupants. They will in the main have rented out houses as one group. There is a single joint tenancy agreement in place.

3. Bedsit type HMOs

HMOs that are converted into non self-contained bedsits or units. the have shared bathrooms. They may share cooking facilities. For instance, there may have a mixture of two toilets, washing facilities may also be shared. It is unlikely to be a community living or dining room. However, they may have little or no communication between the tenants. Each letting will have its own individual tenancy agreement. They usually a lock on each individual door.

4. Houses/buildings converted into self-contained flats.

Houses and buildings converted into self-contained flats. This means where the conversion did not meet the current building regulations. This is Building Regulation 1991. However, this means that they will still meet them now and include in the LACORs guide. This just depends on whether there are any alterations post conversion.

5. Flats in multiple occupation

Any self-contained flat in which it is occupied by three or more persons who do not form a single household. Above all, fire standards would not be enforceable under Housing Health and Safety rating system. This relates to some transitional and additional HMO licencing schemes. Please do not hesitate to read our previous article on mandatory HMO licencing across the country – https://harringtonslettings.co.uk/licence-is-an-hmo-licence-mandatory-across-the-country/

6. Back-to-Back Houses

These typically back directly onto one another at a party wall and have other houses either side. This means that there is only exit from the house and escape route which inevitably passes through a risk room.

The rest of the LACORs report is self-explanatory. Therefore, you should be read through by Landlords to ensure that they are aware of what their requirements are. It is critical as it could affect your insurance.

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google-review Review
Cat Westmacott
Cat Westmacott
17:57 10 Jun 24
Generally helpful for Lettings. As with any company, sometimes need a push for a response, but often easier to speak on the phone than email. Feeling hopeful for the next year’s contract with Harringtons🤞.
Kirsty Turner
Kirsty Turner
20:50 04 Jun 24
Great experience. Everyone is so lovely and helpful over the phone at Harringtons! The best experience we have had with a letting agent in Brighton, none of the other agents in Brighton have been bothered to keep in touch and help us find a property as much as these guys. A special shoutout to the lovely lady who showed me around the flat (Georgie I believe -sorry if I got that wrong), great at answering all my questions and been very lucky in securing the first property we viewed with her (an amazing spacious flat that has everything we need - including nice storage space for our paddleboards!) Looking forward to moving into our seaside home. Thank you!
Shadan B
Shadan B
23:31 30 May 24
Great experience, very helpful staff and friendly. I wish you all the success. Thanks for your care. 💐😊
Rachel Roberts
Rachel Roberts
21:13 30 May 24
Best experience I've had with a letting agent!
Charley Besant
Charley Besant
10:25 30 May 24
So far the process with Harringtons has been amazing. We viewed 3 properties with Georgie and each time she was so informative and kind, she gave us the time we needed in each property to look around, take videos and ask questions about everything. The whole process has been easy so far and I can now happily say we found our property thanks to Georgie and the team at Harringtons.
Ainhoa Negro
Ainhoa Negro
09:15 30 May 24
Georgie at Harringtons Lettings in Brighton has been exceptional throughout my rental process. From the very beginning, her professionalism and friendliness stood out. She provided clear and prompt communication, ensuring all my questions were answered thoroughly. Georgie made the entire experience seamless, from viewing properties to finalizing the paperwork. Her attention to detail and genuine care for my needs made me feel confident and supported. I highly recommend Georgie and Harringtons Lettings to anyone looking for a top-notch rental experience in Brighton.
PRBL1
PRBL1
09:11 30 May 24
Joel Starcross
Joel Starcross
15:22 29 May 24
Beth has been an excellent agent, great communicator and enthusiastic member of the team. Highly recommended!
Jess Pond
Jess Pond
13:16 29 May 24
Had an absolutely awful experience with this company. Told me one thing on the phone and then told me another thing on email. Very mixed messages. Left 7 students homeless by putting the house back on the market with only 24 hour notice. Will never use them again. AVOID!
Roisin Lilley
Roisin Lilley
11:42 24 May 24
I recently had some problems with my previous agent and came to Beth for help! She took over the correspondence for me and sorted everything out for me! I can’t thank her enough for her patience and help!! I’d highly recommend her to other landlords that need help!
Chris Lilley
Chris Lilley
11:26 24 May 24
I’ve been a tenant with Harringtons Lettings for a while, they are great, they always sort out any issues I have quickly and efficiently, Beth in particular is really helpful and I’ll be going to her for my next rental property when I look to move in September!
Georgina Palzeaird
Georgina Palzeaird
11:21 24 May 24
Beth Roberts was a huge help when I needed to switch to a new letting agency. She was friendly and efficient and I’ve always felt I’m in safe hands.
Eliya Halim
Eliya Halim
10:26 24 May 24
Top service
Maryana Atiya
Maryana Atiya
10:20 24 May 24
Rees Harper
Rees Harper
17:53 21 May 24
Lauryn Keller
Lauryn Keller
15:20 03 May 24
Georgie was great on our viewing - super lovely, informative and honest. Thank you!
Sammi Richmond
Sammi Richmond
09:16 24 Apr 24
Well, they just contacted me via email asking for a review for money... so here, I guess.Does 3 stars get me that tenner? Probably not. Nothing terrible to say, but never had any issues with the property really. Don't enjoy that they were willing to pay for reviews though, seems sketchy.UPDATE: As the business has finally replied to my review 6 years later, I thought I would mention that I indeed have the email still as proof. Offer of £10 for a review, and to mention Rachel Erridge in the review. Also a prize of £200 to one lucky winner. The email was sent from the Harrington's admin email address. I can email the proof to whoever requests it.
Jayden Charles-Frempong
Jayden Charles-Frempong
01:20 18 Apr 24
Every interaction I've had so far with Harrington has been positive with workers responding to calls very quickly and addressing any queries efficiently.
severin severinov
severin severinov
10:05 11 Apr 24
It is very good that they do their job professionally and take care of the customers.
kate quick
kate quick
13:15 09 Apr 24
I am very happy and extremely grateful to have found Harringtons lettings and the beautiful flat that I am now living in. Not only is the flat perfect for me, ticks all the boxes and is in a great location; the whole communication/admin process was so fast and efficient. I spoke to many of the team, but the two main contacts initially were Georgie and Beth. Great personalities, friendly and fast at replying to emails and phone calls. It was all turned around very quickly and everyone at Harringtons seems to appear to really be happy in their jobs. Great letting agent and I would recommend them to others looking for a new home.
Michael Hollamby
Michael Hollamby
12:32 09 Apr 24
Having worked with many many lettings it has been refreshing to deal with such a dynamic and energetic team. From start to finish the team have outstanding. Special mention to Beth who has been fantastic. I can thoroughly recommend using Harringtons.
Celyn James
Celyn James
17:08 27 Mar 24
Great experience, Georgie was so knowledgeable and kind with any enquiries I had. Really put me at ease while house hunting, amazing service thank you so much!!
Madison Harris
Madison Harris
14:29 27 Mar 24
Georgie was so helpful and really kind very appreciative x
Amber-Rose Cook
Amber-Rose Cook
08:58 22 Mar 24
easy to use and navigate as a first time user
Buffy Vaughn
Buffy Vaughn
18:06 21 Mar 24
Harringtons have been so helpful so far. Everyone we’ve spoken to on the phone including Georgie have been so warm and receptive and easy to communicate with. As a couple renting together for first time me & Danny couldn’t have found better people to help us out, they’re clear and concise. We discovered them through Rightmove and would highly recommend anyone to use their services to rent with.Thanks guys!Buffy & Danny
Sajan Raja
Sajan Raja
01:48 21 Mar 24
Kerryn Johnson
Kerryn Johnson
16:58 18 Mar 24
Georgie was absolutely amazing! Very helpful, easy to talk to and all in all an absolute sweetheart. Made the process of renting and finding a property less stressful. Always happy to help and lovely to chat to!Thank you again for everything!
Julia Reinstein
Julia Reinstein
11:22 18 Mar 24
5/5 - Everyone I’ve spoken to on the phone has been so friendly and patient with our move in documents. We found Harringtons through Rightmove, and have been really happy with our interactions. The team respond to queries efficiently and are happy to answer any and all questions.
Andrew Brown
Andrew Brown
07:09 15 Mar 24
A really excellent agency, who are very easy and friendly to deal with. Highly recommended.
Rob Rainbird
Rob Rainbird
18:04 13 Mar 24
Lovely staff and all round positive experience - Georgie is an absolute diamond and a credit to the team!
Tori Tor
Tori Tor
11:15 08 Mar 24
Harringtons have been really helpful and very swift with their responses. Georgie was very proffesional and really friendly when she did the viewings with me and Beth on the phone was again really helpful and gave me hope when I was explaining my eagerness to find somewhere new to live. Thanks Harringtons!
christos papanicolaou
christos papanicolaou
09:33 07 Mar 24
Staff were brilliant. Very helpful
Yasmin Bright
Yasmin Bright
20:54 01 Mar 24
I'm in a difficult situation at the moment with my landlord wanting to sell the flat that myself and my 3 children have been living in for 7 years. I came across Harringtons Viewings by applying to view some properties outside of my area.Unfortunately I haven't been able to sort anything with Harringtons, however I wanted to write this to say that they have been nothing but kind, warm and very understanding of my situation. I've been really impressed by their customer service (namely Georgie & Beth) and hope that they are able to find me something eventually!Thanks so much.Yasmin
Tegan
Tegan
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
TheFlyingCrocodile
TheFlyingCrocodile
16:42 21 Feb 24
Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
11:18 24 Jan 24
Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
Georgie Prebble
Georgie Prebble
20:36 05 Jan 24
Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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