Fire safety

What are the rules about fire safety in rental properties? Are they different for different types of property? Are smoke alarms compulsory? Read on for the answers.

How to keep your tenants safe

Fire safety is a serious concern for both tenants and landlords. The regulations are many and complex, so you should take the time to familiarise yourself with the ones that affect you.

We’ve put together some hints and tips to give you an overview. And we’ve added some of our own recommendations to help you keep your tenants and your property safe.

Government advice for landlords

For more information and advice, visit the Housing and local services pages of the government website. Click on the Renting Out Your Property section, and you’ll find basic fire regulations, as well as Health and Safety information and details of your tax liabilities.

There are also a number of landlord associations offering information and courses to their members.

Some simple rules

There are some easy-to-follow basic regulations that all landlords should follow. They cover things like smoke alarms and fire safety risk assessments and are the minimum requirements for any type of rental property.

It isn’t a comprehensive list, but it should give you an idea of some of the things to look out for.

Smoke alarms

You must have a smoke alarm on every floor of your property. It’s a legal requirement, and you should test all of them at the beginning of every tenancy. Any room with a solid fuel appliance also needs a carbon monoxide alarm.

Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

HHSRS is a risk assessment system administered by your local council. It applies to all private landlords and their rental properties. You should familiarise yourself with their guidelines because the local authority can (and in some cases must) take action to force you to upgrade your fire safety precautions.

You should find the HHSRS guidelines for your area on your local council website.

Fire Safety Order

The common parts of multi-occupied properties, such as flats or bedsits, are governed by the Fire Safety Order of 2006. If you have a rental property in a larger building, find out who is responsible for the common parts – usually the freeholder, landlord or manager of the block.

British Gas Landlord Cover. Protect your
rental properties

We can take care of the boiler, central heating, plumbing, drains and electrics in all your rental properties. HomeCare from British Gas includes your annual Gas Safety Certificate, and emergency repairs and breakdowns.

Get landlord cover

HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) management regulations

If your rental property is an HMO, you have to comply with different rules covering fire safety. These are often enforced by your local authority, so it’s worth checking with them to find out about local regulations.

There are also different rules covering electrical safety. Take a look at our guide for landlords to find out what your legal obligations are, and how to protect your property and your tenants.

Different properties, different rules

The regulations governing your rental property will vary depending on the type of accommodation you’re providing. Whether it’s a single flat or house, purpose built or converted, a shared house or HMO, there are different rules for each one.

It’s worth doing a bit of research to make sure you’re complying with the fire safety regulations in all your properties. A good place to start is the Housing and Local Services pages on the HM Government website.

Fire safety checklist

  • Local and national - Follow local council and national safety regulations
  • Smoke alarm - Have a smoke alarm on every storey of your property
  • Escape routes - Check your tenants can access escape routes at all times
  • Carbon monoxide alarm - Fit a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel appliance
  • Gas Safety Certificate - Make sure all furniture is Fire Safe
  • Electrical Safety Condition Report - Consider having an Electrical Safety Condition Report (mandatory in Scotland and for all HMOs
  • Fire alarms - Fit fire alarms and provide fire extinguishers in larger properties such as HMOs
  • Furniture - Make sure all furniture is Fire Safe

Want to know more?

Electrical Safety Condition Report

Find out how often you need to inspect your electrics.

Read about electrical safety condition report

Gas Safety certificates

An annual Gas Safety certificate is a legal requirement for landlords.

Read about gas safety certificates

Landlord insurance

Read our article and make sure you’re covered, whatever happens.

Read about landlord insurance