Landlord responsibilities

As a residential property landlord, you have a general duty to keep your tenant’s home fit for them to live in and ensure that it does not endanger their health. This includes ensuring there are no fire hazards in the property. If the property is a house in multiple occupation (HMO), you will have additional responsibilities.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

By law, as a landlord (excluding registered social landlords) you must install:

  • a smoke alarm on every floor
  • a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms containing a solid fuel appliance.

You must check that alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy, and tenants should notify landlords whenever alarms appear to be faulty.

Certain types of properties and arrangements are excluded (for example, HMOs, lodgers, long-leases, student halls of residence, hostels and refuges, care homes, hospitals and hospices).

If you fail to meet your legal responsibilities then your local housing authority can take enforcement action against you, which may include them arranging for the alarms to be fitted and a fine to be charged.

Find out more: Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms: explanatory booklet for landlords

Fire safety and furnishings

Any upholstered furnishings you provide in the property should be fire resistant – this applies to all landlords. Upholstered furniture includes:

  • sofas and armchairs
  • beds, headboards and mattresses
  • sofa beds and futons
  • nursery and children’s furniture
  • loose and stretch covers for furniture
  • cushions and seat pads
  • garden furniture that is used indoors.

There should be a symbol on your furniture to state that it is fire resistant. If the furnishings in the property are not fire resistant, they must be replaced otherwise the trading standards office may get involved.