Landlords need to ensure fire safety over Christmas

by Daniel Jones

The festive season can be a dangerous time for house fires, but there are things that landlords can do to protect their tenants. In addition to carrying out a fire risk assessment, landlords should ensure they have installed a working smoke detector.

While tenants must take responsibility for ensuring the batteries are not removed for other purposes, landlords need to make sure a working alarm is present in all their properties.

To drive home this message to homeowners, landlords and tenants alike, the government is launching its annual Fire Kills campaign this month in the run-up to the festive season.

Last year, one in six fire deaths in the UK occurred in December, highlighting the risks that people face at this time of year.

The government's chief fire and rescue adviser, Sir Ken Knight, explains that fire safety can often be forgotten about at this time of year. "But in reality, the start of festive celebrations bring a whole cocktail of fire risks into the home - from the distractions of a crowded house while cooking and the slower reaction times that result from alcohol consumption, to the potential dangers of overloaded plug sockets, flammable decorations and unattended candles," he warns.

"By being aware of the risks and making a few simple checks you can ensure that you and your loved ones can celebrate in safety."

While the protection of tenants is the priority, it is also important for landlords to take out buy-to-let insurance cover property damage caused by fire.

December is also a time when landlords need to be aware of the potential for water damage caused by frozen pipes bursting. A property inventory may be useful to ensure items within a house or flat can be replaced, but there a number of steps to take to prevent problems occurring in the first place.

The National Landlords Association suggests tenants need to be shown how to turn off water to the property, especially if they plan to leave it vacant over Christmas.

  • Landlord and Tenancy News from Lawpack: Get all the risk assessment template forms and guidance you need to comply with fire safety regulations with Lawpack's Fire Risk Assessment Kit.

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Published on: December 12, 2011

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