With the coming into force of the Fire Safety Act 2021, landlords now have new and more onerous obligations as regards fire safety.
Perhaps the most significant new obligation for landlords, many of whom have assumed that the old rules under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 do not apply to them, is that they the premises covered under the act have been extended. Most landlords will be expected to comply and also obtain a professional fire risk assessment.
However, for many landlords, this is not as bad as it sounds. The government are aware that there are limited professionals able to do this work and so have set up a scheme to prioritise the most urgent cases.
So all landlords should complete the online Fire Risk Assessment Prioritisation Tool here . This will give you a score between ‘Tier 1’ where your building must be reviewed ‘without delay’ and Tier 5 where you do not need to do anything at this time.
If you follow the online guidance and keep a record of your result under the prioritisation tool, then this can be used as a defence (if it shows you do not need to get an assessment immediately) in any legal proceedings for breach of duty.
However, this is unlikely to help you if it is clear, after a serious fire, that your property is obviously not fire safe. Still less if there is a fatality. Bearing in mind also that ‘fire’ is one of the hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.
So I would suggest all landlords consider fire safety anyway and do what they can.
As these are expected to come into force on 1 October 2022 without a transition period landlords should take action before that date.