Fire safety legislation for landlords – Single Household (family) Occupation

In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy there has been renewed interest in fire safety. In the coming months and years it seems likely that there will be changes to legislation but what does the law currently say about fire safety in rental property?

In the first of a series of articles I look at fire safety legislation for dwellings (flats and houses) used for rented single household (family) occupation.

Fire safety in this type of dwelling is covered by the following:

Building Regulations 2010 Part B

See – Technical guidance for Part B is contained in Fire safety: Approved Document B.

Application – all dwellings where significant building work is carried out.

Housing Health & Safety Rating System (“HHSRS”)

Fire is included in the 29 hazards covered by the system introduced by Housing Act 2004.

See – Operating Guidance and Guidance for Landlords and Property Related Professionals. Further information on fire standards can be obtained in the LACORS Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing.

Application – all dwellings

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

See – Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms: explanatory booklet for landlords.

Application – all rented dwellings

Licensing Condition

Basic fire safety conditions including provision of alarms have to be imposed if the premises requires a licence under Housing Act 2004 and Councils have discretion subject to appeal to impose additional fire requirements.

There are 3 types of licence.

• Mandatory Licence – applies to HMOs of 3 or more storeys and occupied by 5 or more persons who occupy as 2 or more households. Applies to all areas of England and Wales.

• Additional Licensing (HMO) – discretionary scheme which a Council may apply by Declaration which can apply to any HMO, other than those requiring Mandatory Licensing. Council has discretion on the extent of the area affected and the type of HMO e.g. could limit to HMOs with only 4 persons, or could apply to all other.

• Selective Licensing – discretionary scheme may apply by Council’s Declaration to any rented dwellings which are not a HMO – family/single households – and may cover all or part of the Councils district.

Application – any premises which requires a Licence under Housing Act 2004.

In the next part of this series I will look at fire safety regulations for common parts of purpose built flats here.

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