Fire safety – what are tenant’s and landlord’s responsibilities?

Fire safety – what are tenant’s and landlord’s responsibilities?
19th March 2024

One of your landlord’s most important health and safety responsibilities is around fire safety. If anything goes wrong and fire breaks out in your rented home, they have to be able to prove that they fulfilled their legal obligations and took all reasonable steps to ensure your safety.

What are a landlord’s legal fire safety responsibilities?

Legally, they must:

  • Carry out a risk assessment to:
    • Identify possible sources and causes of fire
    • Assess how likely it is that fire might break out
    • Conclude what reasonable steps could be taken to mitigate risks
  • Fit a smoke alarm on every floor of the property
  • Check that all smoke alarms are working at the start of each tenancy and repair or replace them as soon as possible if you report a fault or damage
  • Ensure there is clear access to escape routes
  • Check that all furnishings supplied meet fire safe standards
  • Have an annual gas safety check and an inspection of the full electrical installation at least once every 5 years, and provide you with a copy of the certificates
  • Ensure any electrical appliances they have provided carry the British Safety Standard sign and are safe to use – ideally by having a portable appliance test (PAT) carried out every one or two years

If the property is an HMO, there are additional legal requirements for landlords that include: having a written risk assessment, fitting fire doors and installing smoke alarms in each individually occupied unit. They must also have a nominated ‘responsible person’ to make you aware of various aspects of fire safety.

If you have any concerns about fire safety in your rented home, contact your landlord or managing agent in the first instance and do so in writing so you can evidence the communication. If that doesn’t resolve things for you, then contact your local authority.


Do tenants have fire safety obligations?

Although there aren’t any specific legal rules for you to comply with, you do have a general responsibility to look after the property, which includes mitigating fire risks.

As good practice, you should: 

  • Test smoke alarms periodically (ideally once a month) to make sure they’re working properly
    – and keep a record of this
  • Keep fire escape routes free from obstruction – e.g. don’t have bikes blocking the front porch
  • Switch off electrical appliances when they’re not in use and unplug them when possible
  • Not overload sockets and extension leads
  • Not leave appliances and devices on charge overnight or when you’re not in the property
  • Take care when burning candles and never leave them unattended

Also see the Government’s guidance on fire safety for tenants.

The importance of fire safety when it comes to insurance claims

Your landlord should be aware of what steps they need to take in order for their own insurance to be valid in the event of any fire-related claim. That might include providing evidence of:

  • When smoke alarms were last tested
  • Up-to-date electrical and gas safety checks: the last Gas Safety Certificate, EICR and any PAT records
  • Periodic inspections, including notes on whether fire safety advice is being followed, and any further action taken

It’s important to understand that your landlord’s insurance only covers their property and contents, not yours, so it’s well worth taking out your own insurance to protect yourself financially. 

To discuss appropriate tenant insurance that can cover loss and damage to your personal possessions while in your rented home, just give our team a call on 01903 890044 or email You can also get a quote online at any time via our website.

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