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Selling Furniture and Fire Safety Regulations

Private individuals looking to sell second hand furniture should try to ensure items sold are compliant with the regulations, but are unlikely to be prosecuted for selling non-compliant items. The reason is that Trading Standards have limited powers to act if the sale is not in the course of trade or business and deemed a private transaction.

If it can be proven that furniture has been produced solely for export out of the UK then it is exempt from the regulations. However, imported furniture is covered by The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988.

As referenced previously, the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR) is another piece of legislation that aims to ensure that ALL products intended for, or likely to be used by consumers under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions, are inherently safe.

All suppliers of domestic upholstered furniture and furnishings are responsible for product liability under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. Therefore suppliers of domestic upholstered furniture and furnishings need to meet the requirements of both the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 and the GPSR as it is illegal to supply goods that do not comply. This remains the case whether the furniture is manufactured in the UK or imported.

Beanbags and floor cushions must also meet all of the requirements of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 regulations.

Persons who supply second-hand furniture in the course of business or trade (e.g. auctioneers, charities) are covered by the regulations and should ensure labels are attached. However, the regulations state that the distribution of second-hand upholstered furniture and furnishings by a charity in pursuance of its charitable objectives to needy persons, either free of charge or at a nominal amount only, does not constitute supply in the course of business and is therefore exempt from the regulations.

If the permanent label has been removed from an item of furniture, then this cannot be replaced and the item would not be accepted by a charity shop for example, and should not be sold-on in a commercial capacity. It is not acceptable to add new labels to older furniture, as labels can only be added by the manufacturer or an importer following accredited test procedures. However, as mentioned at the beginning of this section, a sale from one private individual to another is unlikely to fall foul of Trading Standards.


Reviewed: 01/10/2019 (doc:107 V1.0). Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. Please note that we provide abridged, easy-to-understand guidance. To make detailed decisions about your fire safety provisions, you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.


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