As the weather turns colder, people are turning on their heating, log burners and stoves to stay toasty through the winter. Even with the rising cost of energy and consequent use of those heating appliances going down, a landlord still has a responsibility to ensure all the necessary safety checks are in place to reduce the risk of fire.

The landlord’s/agents’ legal requirements

From gas systems and fuel burning appliances to chimneys, fire doors and alarm systems, a landlord is legally required to ensure fire hazards are reduced to maintain tenant safety within the property.

When it comes to fire safety, the list of certificates, checks, laws and safety compliance is long for landlords – and for good reason.

Here’s an outline of what a landlord needs to do to reduce fire risk:

Firstly, a landlord/agent needs to familiarise themselves with the laws surrounding fire safety:

  • Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022.
  • Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.
  • The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.
  • Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988/1989, 1993 and 2010.
  • The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (2005).
  • The Housing Act 2004 and Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

Secondly, a landlord/agent will need to ensure they have all the correct and current fire safety certificates:

  • Electric safety certificate (EICR) – completed by a qualified electrician every five years.
  • Gas safety certificate for every gas appliance – renewed annually.

Thirdly, the rented property should include:

  • Smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide alarms.
  • Fire doors (whilst not a legal requirement in rentals other than HMOs, a kitchen fire door is recommended for tenant safety).

And fourthly, the landlord/agent must ensure the contents within the house meet safety standards:

  • Register all electric appliances (these are responsible for half of domestic fires).
  • Ensure furniture and upholstery meets fire standards for rental properties (this will be evident on the label, which should be kept on the furniture).
  • Provide fire extinguishers, fire blankets, and a fire alarm in multiple occupancy properties (HMO) properties.

Property inspections are critical

Whilst many of the above responsibilities occur at the start of a tenancy or at specific renewal times, fire safety depends on regular checks and maintenance by the landlord or agent.

At check-in, check-out and mid-tenancy, interim property checks, a landlord/agent must carry out due diligence to ensure health hazards are minimised. With regards to fire risks, the inspections should include, at the very least:

  • Appliance checks: make sure all electrical items and fuel burning appliances are working correctly and adhere to safety standards – faulty appliances are the leading cause of domestic fires in England.
  • Electric checks: look for damaged wiring, fuse boxes and sockets and fix urgently.
  • Boiler servicing.
  • Regular tests of smoke, carbon monoxide and fire alarms.
  • Escape route checks – these should be kept clear.
  • Chimney inspection and clearing.

Don’t miss the details

Fire safety forms just one part of the overall landlord safety obligations and for that reason, it can help to use pre-prepared reports and templates at inspections.

This not only ensures vital checks aren’t missed but can also prove useful in dispute cases or spot checks where evidence is required.

Using a property inspection platform like Inventory Hive makes the process easier, and gives landlords, agents and tenants peace of mind. The Inventory Hive tool comes with a host of automated features and templates that make property inspections and safety checks more straightforward and transparent for all.

The safety report templates are updated in accordance with current landlord legislation, which is a big help when it comes to navigating the complex world of compliance in the PRS. They also come with questions, declarations and disclaimers as standard, which can be further customised to suit the property and tenant.

Tenant education

Most importantly, the templates reduce the risk of fire to tenants and property. Tenants play a large part in the safety of their home. By making them aware of the risks and actions required, through automated reminders and communications, they can help to maintain safety standards and report any issues as they arise.

Learn more about fire safety, tenant education and report templates at Inventory Hive.

Join our TDS and Inventory Hive webinar

Richard Abbots, Founder and CEO at Inventory Hive joins Martin Wilks, Adjudicator at TDS discuss the importance of property management visits, including:

• Interim inspections – why do them?
• Access with express authority.
• Refusal of access.
• Frequency of inspections.
• Insurance implications.
• Pre Check-out reports.

TDS Webinar with Inventory Hive

Inventory Hive and TDS working closely together

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) and Inventory Hive run two expert led, CPD accredited courses.

Led by Michael Hill of TDS and Richard Abbots of Inventory Hive, the courses guide property professionals through reporting at each stage of a tenancy, making the process as smooth as possible.

Course 1 ‘Pre-tenancy activity and inventory check-in’ – The first course includes an introduction to inventory check-ins and practical tips for compiling reports.  The session focuses on key vocabulary/terminology and what to include in an inventory report.   

Course 2 ‘Mid-term visits and end of tenancy check-out’ – The second course focuses on mid-term visits and end of tenancy check-out reports.  The session includes practical guidance on undertaking reports, alongside how reports are approached by an adjudicator when considering deposit deductions.  

To register for the on-demand training, visit TDS Academy.


Rich A Headshot

Richard Abbots is founder and CEO at Inventory Hive, which is a simple cloud-based property reporting and 360° virtual tour software – allowing for market-leading paperless management of inventories, check-ins, interim visits, comparative check-outs, customisable reports, and easy-to-use 360° virtual tour.

Sign up for your free 30 day trial (no card details required) here.


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