How to check whether a rented property is up to fire safety standards

Unfortunately, not all landlords operate within the law, as many try to cut corners to save money. Although landlords are responsible for the fire safety of their tenants, for your safety, we’d recommend checking your rented property when you move in to ensure safety regulations are in place. The aftermath of the Grenfell disaster led many to lose trust in their landlords, as it was revealed the cladding was highly flammable and there was no central fire alarm or sprinklers in the building. After the disaster, the government revised some of the laws surrounding the responsibilities of landlords, tenants and the building regulations for each category of building. 

The responsibilities of your landlord include:

  • Ensuring a gas safety check is completed every 12 months is crucial. This must be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. 
  • All furniture provided by the landlord must reach fire safety standards. 
  • All electrical items must be tested every year to ensure they are in proper working order. 

How to check if your rented property is safe:

  • At the start of your tenancy, ask for a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate, a gas safety certificate and a copy of the latest government guide on renting. 
  • A fire alarm should be placed on every floor of the home. A carbon monoxide detector must be placed in every room where a coal fire is in use. However, it is your responsibility. 
  • Depending on the local council, fire doors and extinguishers must be placed in shared homes.
  • Check your furniture has a label proving it reaches fire safety standards. 

What to do if you think your building is unsafe:

If you suspect your rented property does not meet the required regulations, there are a few things you can do to ensure you live in a safe environment. 

  • Ask for a copy of the most recent fire safety test.
  • Send a letter highlighting what you think might be unsafe in your property and request a fire safety test – make sure to include the date and address of the property, and keep a copy of the letter you sent. 
  • If your landlord refuses to carry out a fire safety test, contact your local council, more specifically the environmental health department and explain to them you are concerned about the safety of the property. The council will arrange an inspector to come and check your home. 
  • If the council takes too long, make an official complaint through the website so it is on record, or even try to contact your local MP to bring awareness to the issue. 

If the inspector finds your living conditions to not be within legal fire safety regulations, the council can force your landlord to make your home safe. So if you check your home and find any fire safety issues, you can consult with our team and we’ll help guide you through what would be the most appropriate steps to take, and advise you on which fire safety devices would be beneficial whilst you want for your property to be fixed. 

Cheshire Fire is dedicated to serving the community by bringing awareness to fire safety regulations for those who rent properties and those who live in them. We offer a range of products and services to facilitate this goal, including training opportunities and information on legal information surrounding fire safety. For more information, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with a member of our team.