The Fire Safety Act 2021 – what Landlords need to know

Landlord-responsibilities
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    The new Fire Safety Act 2021, which is now law in England and Wales, has changed the regulations around which properties are exempt from the Fire Safety Order (FSO). In general, single private domestic properties are exempt, while all buildings which comprise multiple properties - two or more domestic units - are not.

    There are major implications for both fire professionals and Responsible Persons - such as Landlords - with severe consequences if the new standards are not adhered to. In simple terms if you are the person responsible for any residential building, you could be held personally liable for any future breaches and prosecuted if you fail to carry out your duties properly.

    The change centres on what needs to be proved in order for you to be prosecuted if you fail to discharge your duties under an FSO. Previously, if you departed from the guidance on fire safety, it also needed to be proved that there was a significant risk arising from that departure. Now, there simply needs to be a departure from the guidance. This puts the onus firmly onto the Responsible Person of a building to ensure that they’re following updated guidance for their buildings, keeping people in their buildings safe and correctly discharging their duties under the Fire Safety Act.

    The Act has also clarified the rules that apply to the building’s structure. There now need to be access and maintenance plans in place for external wallsincluding thedoors or windows in those walls and anything attached to the exterior of the walls, including balconies).

    Other key proposals which are set to become law in future separate legislation include requiring the Responsible Person for a building to:

    • Share information with their local Fire and Rescue Service in respect of the design of their buildings’ external walls and details of the materials of which they are constructed
    • Undertake an annual inspection of individual flat entrance doors
    • Undertake monthly inspections of lifts and report the results to their local Fire and Rescue Service if there are any faults
    • Share evacuation and fire safety instructions with residents of the building

    The overall aim is to ensure that fire safety measures, evacuation plans, and fire systems are not simply installed in a building and then ignored. The first requirement is to ensure that they are fit for purpose, and then to make sure they stay that way as the building evolves over time.

    You can read more about the Fire Safety Act 2021 and what it contains in our previous blog here

    If you’re a landlord, contact us so we can put you in touch with a local, qualified Fire Depot installer who will be able to address your needs further.

    Fire Depot has been the UK's favourite fire safety supplier for over 50 years.  Our experienced team can offer advice and guidance about any product or fire safety application. For expert help and advice, please contact the Fire Depot team on 0330 999 2233, email us at sales@firedepot.co.uk or visit www.firedepot.co.uk to see our full range of fire safety products.

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