Fire safety of your building

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Landlords are responsible for making sure the properties they rent are safe and have working smoke alarms.  Without working smoke alarms a property will not comply with Government Regulations and a landlord may be liable to enforcement action.  

As well as smoke alarms, in some cases  landlords must fit carbon monoxide alarms in their rented homes where there is an open fire place or solid fuel burner.

Fire precautions

As well as smoke alarms, properties may need further fire precautions to make them safe and this can depend on the following:

  • Whether the property is a family home or a house in multiple occupation (HMO)

  • The number of floors in the property

  • The layout of the property

  • Whether the property is a house of flat

  • Any additional risk factors, for example, if a person is hard of hearing and needs special equipment

Bath and North East Somerset Council following an inspection may feel that your property is not free from hazards under the Housing Act 2004 and does not meet national fire safety guidance.  Where this is the case further work may be necessary and can be enforced by the Council to ensure the property is safe. This may include further fire detection or structural improvements.

Guidance on fire precautions is available from the Local Government Regulation (formerly LACoRS).  

In line with the guidance we recommend all homes are fitted with mains wired smoke alarms because battery alarms have up to a 45% failure rate and batteries may be removed and not replaced.  Where a hazard is identified mains alarms and fire safety improvements will be required.

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)

HMO's require a higher standard of fire precautions and the fire detection must be powered by the main electrical system, battery detectors are not acceptable.  Fire doors and structural improvements may also be required and landlords must  maintain fire precautions provided in their properties.

Fire risk assessment

Landlords of some buildings (including licensed HMOs) have a responsibility to carry out a fire risk assessment and have appropriate fire precautions in place in the common parts of the house.  Further information is available from Avon Fire and Rescue Service and the 5 steps to fire risk assessment checklist.  A fire risk assessment for small HMOs (3 or less storeys) is available HERE.  It needs to be carried out by a competent person.

Lead Authority

Bath and North East Somerset Council, Avon Fire & Rescue Service and the West of England Local Authorities of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire have an agreement on who will be the 'lead' authority for particular types of property concerning fire safety.  We do this to avoid duplication where dual legislation applies, however, it does not remove the legal powers each authority has if a serious situation arises.  We may inform each other about the action we have taken and share information to ensure a common approach.  Bath and North East Somerset Council lead on HMOs and single dwellings.  Avon Fire and Rescue Service lead on sheltered housing and properties with mixed commercial and associated residential accommodation.  Associated means having no independent access to the residential accommodation.  For full details on the agreement please refer to the Fire Safety Protocol.

For further help please contact the Council's Housing Standards and Improvement Team by email phone 01225 396444. 

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