Fire safety in rented homes

Find out what your landlord should do to keep your rented home fire safe 

Your landlord's fire safety responsibilities

Your landlord must:

  • provide smoke alarms if you rent privately
  • repair problems with the gas or electricity supply
  • make sure furniture and appliances they provide are safe

They may have extra obligations if you live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

Smoke alarms

If you rent from a private landlord, they must install:

  • smoke alarms on each floor of your home
  • carbon monoxide detectors in rooms with a coal fire or a wood burning stove

Carbon monoxide detectors are recommended but not required if you have gas or oil heating. 

The alarms and detectors must be in working order:

  • when they are installed
  • at the start of a new tenancy

You are responsible for checking they are still working after that. If an alarm or detector stops working, ask your landlord for a replacement.

These rules don’t apply if you are lodger or rent from a council or housing association. You can still ask for alarms and detectors to be installed.

If your landlord hasn’t fitted smoke alarms

Ask your landlord to put in smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors

You can complain to the council if the landlord refuses or doesn’t get back to you.

The council can issue a notice requiring your landlord to fit and test alarms and detectors within 28 days.

The council can fine your landlord and fit the alarms themselves if necessary.

Fire safety in shared homes

Your landlord has extra responsibilities if your shared home is licensed as a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

They must:

  • make sure there are clear routes to escape from a fire
  • arrange an electrical inspection every 5 years and give you the latest report

The council can also require landlords to put in fire doors, fire extinguishers or fire blankets.

Electrical fire safety

Electricity is a major cause of accidental fires in the home.

Things to look out for include:

  • damaged wiring
  • sockets that do not work, have burn marks on them or feel hot
  • loose plugs or torn cables on electrical appliances provided by the landlord

Contact your landlord if you're worried about electrical safety in your home.

Gas safety

Faulty gas appliances or pipework in your home can cause gas leaks, fire risks and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Contact your landlord if you're worried about gas safety in your home.

Furniture fire safety

Any upholstered furniture your landlord provides, such as sofas, cushions and mattresses, must have a label to show that it meets fire safety standards.

This applies to both new and second hand furniture made after 1950.

Complain to the council about fire safety

If your landlord won't deal with fire risks in your home, you can ask your local council’s environmental health department for help

They can inspect the property and take action against your landlord if your home is unsafe.

Some landlords will take steps to evict tenants who complain about an unsafe home.

Help with housing after a fire

You can ask for homeless help from the council if you are made homeless by a fire. 

They will usually have a duty to give you emergency accommodation. 

Your landlord's responsibilities to repair the property after a fire may depend on what the cause was.

You will normally still be liable for rent if your home is damaged by fire.


Last updated 05 Aug 2019 | © Shelter

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