Fire Safety for Landlords and Building Owners

It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure their properties are safe and adhere to fire safety regulations. 

Avon Fire and Rescue Service are working to support housing providers and managing agents in our Service area, ensuring they have all the information and guidance needed to identify and address any fire safety issues in their buildings.

Avon Fire and Rescue aim to make information available to the public, sharing fire safety alerts and advice notes issued by the Government to housing providers and managing agents. These advice notes can be found below.

Advice on the measures building owners should take to ensure their buildings are safe

We can provide landlords with further information and support and you can contact our Business Safety Team by completing the enquiry form on the Business Safety homepage.

You can find more information about regulations landlords must adhere to on the gov.uk website

Enforcing Authorities

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) has agreed with all four unitary authorities (LAs) who will be the 'lead' authority for particular types of property. This is to avoid duplication for landlords. However, this doesn't remove the legal powers each authority has - particularly if a serious situation arises. We will be informing each other about the action we have taken.

AF&RS and the LA will act as lead authorities for different types of buildings:

AF&RS

  • Premises with mixed commercial and associated residential accommodation and sheltered housing –

"Associated" means there isn't independent access which is adequately fire separated, so where residential accommodation such as an HMO is completely separated from commercial accommodation the LA will take the lead in the HMO and AF&RS with the commercial accommodation.

  • Hostels - Where a kitchen is used to provide board (If food only is provided, the property will be treated as an HMO).
  • Premises where the LA are the landlords

The LA

  • Single dwellings
  • All Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO), whether or not subject to licensing
  • All self-contained flats whether purpose built or converted

However The Fire safety Order (FSO) applies to the common parts of properties  let as:

  • bedsits
  • shared houses on multiple tenancies (not if joint tenancy)
  • self contained flats
  • Properties with mixed use of bedsits/shared accommodation and flats.

Landlords will be informed by the LA if they believe that the FSO applies, this can be checked with AF&RS. Landlords are recommended to fully comply with the guidance and more information can be found here (opens in new window) .

Where the FSO applies and the fire safety provision specified by the LA is completed, the service will accept that fire safety measures have been improved; if the work is in accordance with the guidance above then a landlord can be confident that the measures needed under the Order have also been provided.

Landlords should be aware that the Service may contact them at a future date to audit the risk assessment and fire safety measures provided as a result.  The common areas will be assessed under the FSO and we will be assessing the protection to the escape routes. This may include; fire resisting doors to the accommodation and on escape routes (including self closers); fire separation of the escape route from any risk; blocked exits and/or escape routes; fire detection and emergency lighting (if required).

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms

Landlords are required to fit smoke alarms in rented homes and carbon monoxide alarms in properties where solid fuel is being burned. You can find more information about the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 on the gov.uk website.

Building Safety Programme

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has established the Building Safety Programme to make sure that buildings are safe - and people feel safe - now, and in the future.

The government has banned combustible materials in the external walls of high rise residential buildings of 18 metres and over, and following a review into its effectiveness, is now consulting on extending the ban significantly further, including lowering the 18 metres height threshold to 11 metres.

With the support of local fire and rescue services and a panel of independent expert advisers, MHCLG is supporting building owners in taking immediate steps to ensure their residents’ safety and in making decisions on any remedial work that is necessary to do.

Simultaneous Evacuation

Simultaneous evacuation means that the residents of a number of flats are asked to leave together.

It requires a means to alert all of these residents to the need to evacuate the building, for example, a full building fire detection and alarm system. Most purpose-built blocks of flats are not fitted with these systems because they can lead to false alarms and be vandalised. This means that Firefighters have to ask residents to leave in the event of an emergency by visiting each flat.

Simultaneous evacuation guidance:

External Wall System Review / EWS1 forms

The External Wall System (EWS) review process, incorporating the EWS1 form, has been developed by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), The Building Societies Association (BSA), and UK Finance. It is an agreed, industry-wide valuation process to help people buy, sell and re-mortgage flats in buildings above 18 metres. The process involves the evaluation of the EWS and completion of the EWS1 form, which informs the valuer if the premises has a flammable wall system and whether remedial works need to be carried out. It has no legal status. The form must be completed by a competent person as specified on the EWS1 form.

Fire and rescue services (FRS), where they are the enforcing authority, regulate fire safety law under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and are not part of the EWS process. FRS have no legislative power to intervene nor can they validate any work carried out under the EWS review process or complete the EWS1 on behalf of the building owner, tenants or freeholder.

RICS have published answers to some common questions regarding EWS1 and the process surrounding them which can be found here:

RICS Cladding External Wall System (EWS) FAQs