Residential Landlord Fire Risk Assessment Requirements

Type 1 Fire Risk Assessment :

A Fire Risk Assessment for a Block of Flats, Sheltered Housing or Extra Care Housing, in which the scope of the Fire Risk Assessment is limited to common parts, plant rooms and other non-domestic areas of the building (if any), and in which the inspection of the building is non-intrusive.

In England and Wales, a Type 1 Fire Risk Assessment is the basic Fire Risk Assessment required for the purpose of satisfying the Fire Safety Order.

Although a Type 1 Fire Risk Assessment is limited in scope primarily to common parts of blocks of flats, sheltered housing and extra care housing, due to the recent implementation of the Fire Safety Act 2021, inspection of the building now includes examination of all flat entrance doors, reasonably accessible service risers, and risks posed by the structure and externals walls of the building (including cladding, balconies and windows).

The new Fire Safety Act 2021 is a new act introduced by the Government to improve fire safety in multi-occupancy domestic premises.  The new Fire Safety Act 2021 amends the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO):

  • Amends the FSO to require all Responsible Persons (i.e the relevant duty holder under the legislation and note there may be more than one) to assess, manage and reduce the fire risks posed by the structure and external walls of the buildings for which they are responsible (including cladding, balconies, and windows) and individual doors opening onto common parts of the building;
  • Applies to all multi-occupied residential buildings and is not dependent on the height of the building; and
  • Allows the Fire and Rescue Service to enforce against non-compliance in relation to the external walls and the individual doors opening on the common parts of the premises.
  • It must be noted that the Act does not address remediation costs in relation to cladding or its replacement.

Although the Fire Safety Order 2005 is limited in scope to the communal areas and individual flat entrance doors, please note, the Responsible person must remember under Articles 4 and 8 that they still have a direct responsibility for the whole premises.

Therefore, they must still complete some assessment of the areas which fall under the Housing Act:

This can be achieved in two ways:

  • Complete a fire risk assessment of the common parts and then an additional assessment of the of the individual flats/ demises through a Housing Health and Safety Rating System using Section 24 ‘Fire’ as a reference. (recommended option)
  • Extend the fire risk assessment into the flats to overlap the Housing Act and provide a single assessment for the whole premises. This would require a type 3 Fire Risk Assessment which includes the work involved in a type 1 Fire Risk Assessment but goes beyond the scope of the FSO (but not the scope of the Housing Act). This assessment considers the means of escape and fire detection within the individual flats. Within the flats the inspection is non-destructive, but the fire resistance of doors to rooms is considered.  Measures to prevent fire are not considered unless (e.g. in the case of maintenance of the electrical and heating installations) the measures are within the control of, for example, the landlord. A type 3 assessment may sometimes be appropriate for rented flats if there is reason to suspect serious risk to residents in the event of fire in their flats. (Please contact us for a quote)

N.B. It is understood that for leaseholder buildings this can be more difficult to achieve due to freeholder/ landlord rights of access. A type 3 assessment will not be possible in the case of long leasehold flats, as there is normally no right of access for freeholders. However conversations regarding overall safety should be ongoing with any resident committee to establish the importance against life safety within the building and to gain appropriate access where necessary.

 

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