If you are a landlord of an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) you need to have a thorough understanding of the fire regulations as they apply to such properties. The rules are more detailed than they are for a buy to let, and if you are going to invest in an HMO or convert an existing building, there may be more work to do in order to bring it up to the required standard.
One of the reasons why this is so, is because when you have an HMO the various tenants won’t necessarily integrate with one another, and they might not even talk to each other.
Furthermore, in a buy to let there is not usually a situation where rooms are locked on a regular basis, whereas in an HMO the opposite is the case. Each individual flat will have a front door that is locked, or if it is not flats but a home where individual rooms are let and tenants have access to communal areas, the room doors will usually be locked. This can mean that people may not have a clear exit and be able to get out of the property in a hurry if need be.
When considering a fire risk assessment for flats, one of the essential features are fire doors. As the landlord you have to ensure that all escape routes from your building are properly protected, and the way that you do this is with fire doors. Furthermore, most fires in flats start within the individual flats, the main causes being electrical faults as a result of overloaded sockets.
Chip Pans And Cigarettes
Other causes can be chip pans which are left on the hob, and someone forgets to turn them off. Another common cause is cigarettes which are not put out properly.
In case of a fire in an HMO in which rooms are let, the escape route would usually be out of the room, down the stairs, along a hallway or corridor, and out through either the front or back door. This would avoid the kitchen which should have a fire door, as it is of itself a high-risk area. All fire doors should have intumescent strips and door closers.
You also need to have thumb turn locks. These are essential and should be on the bedroom doors or flat doors, and on the back and front doors as well. If there is a fire and the tenants cannot get through the doors because the key is not available, that can have serious consequences. Even if everyone has a key to the front and back doors, when a fire starts, picking up the key may be the last thing on their mind.
If you have an HMO and need a fire risk assessment for flats, at UK-Fire Risk Assessments we can help you. There are other things that you need such as smoke alarms in each flat, in corridors, and communal areas, and also heat alarms in kitchens. We will be able to advise you. Our fire risk assessment cost is very reasonable and will ensure that your building is compliant with the law.