HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) Fire Safety
HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) fire safety is an important consideration for landlords and tenants.
HMOs are properties where three or more people from two or more households live, and they often have shared facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Due to the increased risk of fire in these types of properties, there are specific regulations that landlords must comply with to ensure the safety of their tenants.
Here are some key steps that landlords can take to ensure HMO fire safety:
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every floor of the property, in every bedroom and in every communal area. These should be tested regularly to ensure they are working correctly and dependant on the size of the HMO a Grade A system (control panel) may be required and the fire risk assessment will detail if this is the case.
Fire extinguishers (normally only installed in complex & large HMOs) and fire blankets should be provided in communal areas and in any kitchens.
Ensure that all escape routes are clearly marked and kept clear of obstructions. In particular, stairways and hallways should be kept clear and this should be a requirement of the resident's and their tenancy that all escape routes and exits are kept clear. Routine inspections should be carried out to ensure this is being enforced.
Fire doors should be installed on all rooms that lead onto escape routes and should be kept closed at all times. It is essential to ensure that HMO fire doors are well-maintained and kept in good working condition and residents should be made aware of this and how they can report any damage. Regular checks and maintenance should be carried out to ensure that the doors are functioning correctly and that there are no obstructions or damage that could compromise their effectiveness in case of a fire.
A fire risk assessment should be carried out to identify any potential hazards and to put in place measures to reduce the risk of fire which should be reviewed regularly. All fire safety requirements within your HMO should come from your fire risk assessment and in turn allow for the overall fire safety management of the premise
Landlords should provide tenants with information about fire safety procedures and what to do in the event of a fire. Provide each tenant with a copy of the premises fire safety policy which should include evacuation procedures and a copy of the communal area policy which should detail what is and what is not permitted within the communal areas of the HMO.
This is a basic guide and by no means an in depth guide to fire safety within HMO's but by following these steps, landlords can help to ensure the safety of their tenants in HMO properties.
It is important to note that failure to comply with HMO fire safety regulations can result in prosecution and significant fines.