Just like employers, landlords have certain obligations when it comes to fire safety and protection in their properties. However, it is not as simple as ensuring there are a couple of fire extinguishers to hand – fire safety largely depends on the potential risks and the different types of buildings can cause confusion. For example, a building that is used for a single tenancy will differ to one which is shared across commercial and residential lettings.
Legislation requires that landlords carry out fire risk assessments in all common areas of properties. This process will identify any fire hazards and who is at risk and decide if anything can be done to minimise or remove that risk.
Smoke detectors must be installed, and in larger properties this must be a mains-operated smoke alarm. However, who is responsible for testing the alarm (and replacing batteries where applicable) may depend from the type of property and must be clearly advised and documented, especially if it is the tenant. In a building with multiple tenants, it will also be necessary to clearly signpost escape routes through signs and emergency lighting, and to ensure that there are enough escape routes to allow all tenants to evacuate. If there aren’t enough natural escape routes, you may need to install fire escape ladders.
You should also provide fire extinguishers or fire blankets, particularly in cooking areas. We would recommend that you install extinguishers with a broad application and that are simple to use, such as dry water mist extinguishers.