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Fire safety in rented homes

Your landlord must:

  • provide smoke alarms on each floor of your home

  • make sure furniture and appliances they provide are safe

  • sort out repairs for faulty gas appliances, pipework or electric wiring

  • meet licensing rules if you live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO)

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.

Electrical 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.

Furniture 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.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Councils, housing associations and private landlords must:

  • provide smoke alarms on each floor of your home

  • check that the alarms are working on the first day of your tenancy

  • install carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with appliances that burn fuel, for example, a gas boiler or a wood burning stove

Carbon monoxide alarms are not needed in rooms with only a gas cooker.  

You should allow access to your home at a convenient time if your landlord wants to install or replace alarms.

Testing and fixing alarms

You should:

  • test the alarms each month

  • replace the batteries if they do not work

Tell your landlord if you cannot replace the batteries or if the alarms still do not work. Your landlord must repair or replace faulty alarms.

If your landlord will not fix or install alarms

You can complain to the council if a private landlord will not fix or install alarms.

The council can order your landlord to fit and test alarms within 28 days. They could fine your landlord and fit the alarms themselves if needed.

These rules apply to:

  • private landlords from 1 October 2015

  • housing associations and councils from 1 October 2022

The rules do not apply to lodgers or some student halls of residence.

Fire safety in shared homes and HMOs

You live in an house in multiple occupation (HMO) if you share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet with another household.

Your landlord has extra fire safety responsibilities if your home needs a licence from the council. This includes all HMOs with 5 or more people living there and some smaller HMOs.

A licensed HMO landlord must make sure there are:

  • clear routes to escape from a fire

  • working smoke alarms on each floor

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

Fire safety in blocks of flats

The building owner must normally give you information about what to do if you spot a fire and why fire doors are important.

If it's a high rise block of flats, they must also:

  • check lifts and fire doors regularly

  • install clear signs that show the floor and flat numbers

  • share all relevant information with the local fire service

Complain to the council about fire safety

Ask your council for help if your landlord will not deal with fire risks in your home. 

The environmental health team can inspect the property and take action if your home is unsafe.

Help with housing after a fire

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

Find out more about housing help after a fire.

Last updated: 6 February 2023

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