By Jonathan Owen – Fire Safety Specialist at Optimum Safety
Fire safety is in the spotlight again:
Fire safety is in the spotlight once again following the fire in New York (9th January 2022) where at least 19 people lost their lives in a tower block fire. It is hoped this tragedy will further highlight the dangers that still exist here in the UK where many landlords continue to put the lives of their tenants at risk.
The risks posed by fire in typical Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) are arguably not as great as those associated in a typical tower block. However, many HMOs are at high risk and should not be overlooked. As a landlord of an HMO, you must ensure that your property complies with the relevant fire safety regulations. These regulations place a duty on you, the landlord, to ensure that suitable fire safety measures are put in place for the safety of your tenants.
Do not ‘Prioritise Profit’:
‘Prioritising profit before tenants’ safety’ is an accusation no landlord wants to be accused of. So acknowledging you have a moral and legal obligation to ensure the safety of your tenants is critical, as is knowing it is a legal requirement to have a formal written Fire Risk Assessment carried out. Failure to have a suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessment in place could potentially result in prosecution or worse.
A Fire Risk Assessment not only meets your legal requirements, it also minimises the likelihood of a fire occurring in your HMO by identifying potential fire hazards and risks. It provides you, the landlord, with a formal document that enables you to act where required. Having a fire risk assessment can reassure you that your HMO is compliant, and provides your tenants with peace of mind that their home has been assessed by a qualified, independent professional.
What is a fire risk assessment?
A Fire Risk Assessment is a scheduled investigation of your premises, and is carried out in order to identify all fire risks and hazards. It also considers the existing fire safety measures and controls that are in place. It is therefore seen as a vital step in producing a quality fire safety policy for your premises.
For a wide overview of how a fire risk assessment can help your business, read our full article here.
Carrying out a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment can be a considerable and complex process; therefore, expertise and experience are necessary. If the fire risk assessment is not adequate, you, the landlord, could face prosecution or worse. It is therefore NOT advisable for you, the landlord, to try and attempt to conduct a fire risk assessment yourself. To ensure the fire risk assessment is suitable and sufficient, it is strongly advisable that you engage a 3rd party accredited fire risk assessor to carry out a fire risk assessment on your behalf.
A summary of HMO fire risk:
If you are a landlord of a house in multiple occupation, you need to make sure that the premises are as safe as possible in relation to fire risk.
You should aim to have a fire risk assessment completed as soon as possible in order to prioritise tenants’ safety. If you are unsure where to start, simply contact us by using the buttons below.