Landlords: Are you fire safety ready?
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 came into effect on 23 January this year. These regulations will materially impact landlords, managers and operators of buildings in England that contain two or more residential units that share communal spaces.
The aim of these regulations is to greatly improve fire safety following the Grenfell Tower inquiry. As a result, the government is imposing criminal sanctions for non-compliance with fire safety regulations, as well as widening the scope.
Essentially, if you are one of the ‘responsible persons’ for a property then you are liable for the criminal or civil sanctions for non-compliance. Those relevant responsible persons are:
- employers, where the common part of a residential building is a workplace and the employer is in control of it, such as where a caretaker or receptionist is employed
- people who control the common parts of the premises in connection with the carrying on of a trade or business, such as operators of student accommodation or a property management agent
- the owner.
These regulations therefore expand the number of those that are ultimately responsible for fire safety, such that many of them may not currently be aware of their obligations. It is therefore vital that those that deal with residential properties are aware of their potential obligations and liability.
Broadly speaking, the level of those obligations will depend upon the nature of the building and vary from merely ensuring fire safety instructions are provided including, but not limited to:
- ensuring their local fire service with electronic floor plans and ensure hard copy plans are stored in a secure location on site
- providing their local fire service with details as to the design and construction of the buildings, including an assessment of risk created by the materials or design
- undertaking monthly checks on fire evacuation equipment and reporting any issues
- installing and maintaining a secure information box containing the required information and details for the responsible persons
- installing required signage.
Should these requirements not be complied with, the responsible persons can be personally liable to civil claims and/or criminal sanctions.
If you are unsure as to your obligations under these regulations – or the impacts they may have on your business – please get in contact with our property specialists. We’d be happy to answer any of your questions or queries.Contact us
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