New regulations brought in following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017 will make blocks of flats and HMOs much safer to live in. Although they will bring much-needed peace-of-mind to tenants, the newest regulations will increase the amount of compliance some landlords have to comply with.
Tenants’ safety worries
Since Grenfell, safety concerns have been a significant problem for tenants who put their trust in landlords. In a recent study by Zutec, almost half of tenants living in leasehold properties witnessed fire safety hazards, such as blocked fire escapes and missing/faulty fire alarms, extinguishers or sprinkler systems. It’s therefore no surprise that almost two thirds of respondents said they did not feel totally safe in their homes.
Fire safety must be top priority
Fire safety measures are incredibly important in let properties - taking preventative measures and installing fire safety features is integral to complying with the rules. Depending on the size and nature of the buy-to-let, landlords may be required to provide:
- Smoke alarms on every floor
- Carbon monoxide alarms in rooms containing a gas boiler, coal fire or wood burning stove Heat detectors are also recommended in kitchens
- Escape routes that have emergency lighting
- Floors and walls made of fire-resistant materials
- Pre-formulated escape plans
- Furniture and furnishings that meet fire safety standards and be fire retardant
- Fire extinguishers and fire blankets
- Fire risk assessments
- Fully operation and unobstructed fire doors
- A schedule of planned electrical safety and gas safety inspections
What are 2023’s new fire safety rules?
Responsible persons – this could be a landlord or a property manager - in charge of multi-occupied residential buildings in England with storeys over 11 metres in height (that’s usually a building with more than four floors) – are now required to comply with new fire safety regulations, as set out in January 2023 in the amended Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022.
Now mandatory are quarterly checks of all fire doors (including self-closing devices) in common parts/communal areas. In addition, and on a best endeavour basis, is the requirement to undertake annual checks of flat entrance doors (including self-closing devices) that lead onto a building’s common parts in residential buildings.
Follow the rules or face a fine
Where councils identify fire safety breaches in rental properties, they can take legal action against the landlord, resulting in fines of thousands of pounds. The fine will be in addition to the costs of carrying out fire safety improvement works.
Sell up to remove the stress
Fire safety should be at the top of every landlord’s due diligence list but there is no escaping that planning, implementation and maintenance may require financial investment, increased property access and careful planning. The consequences of not following the law to the letter is inconceivable.
If you feel overwhelmed by increasing amounts of lettings compliance and landlord responsibility in lettings, there is a quick, reliable way to sell your buy-to-let. LandlordBuyer will purchase any investment property or portfolio, even those with fire safety issues. Request a free valuation today for a quick cash offer.