Fire safety in HMOs
Landlord and tenant duties
The landlord or manager is responsible for fire safety in HMOs. This includes providing, inspecting and maintaining smoke alarms and all other necessary fire safety measures. Landlords must also provide tenants with fire safety information and should carry out regular Fire Risk Assessments. We recommend managers refer to the LACORS Fire Safety Guidance for fire safety requirements in dwellings.
Tenants must allow their landlord to carry out their management duties. This includes allowing access for inspection and maintenance, following instructions and not damaging any fire safety equipment. In particular tenants should avoid wedging fire doors open, tampering with alarms, and storing items in the means of escape.
Fire safety equipment
Fire doors - Fire doors are often the first line of defence in a fire and their correct specification, maintenance and management can be the difference between life and death for building occupants. However, they remain a significant area of neglect, often the first thing to be downgraded on a specification and mismanaged throughout their service life, propped open, damaged and badly maintained. Further information from firesafe.org.uk.
Fire alarms - All HMO alarm systems should be mains-powered and interlinked. The size of the system and frequency of testing and maintenance will depend on the risks in the property.
Fire blankets - All kitchens and any bedrooms containing cooking facilities should have a wall-mounted fire blanket for tackling small pan fires. Fire blankets should be checked periodically for damage.
Fire extinguishers - We do not require fire extinguishers in HMOs unless a fire risk assessment deems it necessary. This is because fire extinguishers are prone to vandalism, misuse, and can increase risks of people without appropriate training attempting to tackle fires when they should have evacuated. Instead, occupants should get out, call 999, and stay out.
Fire safety guides
We recommend everyone reads fire safety guides such as this easy to read fire safety guide from London Fire Brigade or these fire safety guides from GOV.uk.