On this page you will find information about fire safety for landlords with houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
Fire risk assessment
All licensed HMOs must have a fire risk assessment.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires the ‘responsible person’, who could be the landlord/licence holder or an agent with full management control, to carry out and regularly review a fire risk assessment. This is enforced by the Fire and Rescue Authority.
The fire risk assessment must be ‘suitable and sufficient’, and assistance from an appropriately competent person should be sought as necessary to achieve this. A regular review must be undertaken. There is no legal definition of regular however we advise at least once a year, or change of tenancy if this occurs sooner than once a year. You do not need to re-write the risk assessment each year. You can make a note on the assessment of the date of the review and if any action is required or not, and where action is required then to make a note when completed.
We request a copy of your fire risk assessment as part of the licence application process. Our acceptance of your fire risk assessment does not protect you from any action required by the Fire and Rescue Authority (the enforcing authority for Fire Risk Assessments). Should the Fire and Rescue Authority carry out an audit of your risk assessment, you could be asked to undertake further work or be subject to enforcement action.
If you are thinking of employing someone to carryout a risk assessment for you, you should ensure they are competent to do so. Please see advice on this from the national fire chiefs council Finding fire risk assessor (nationalfirechiefs.org.uk).
New fire safety regulations
You may also have responsibilities under the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022.
The new regulations apply to all buildings in England (Since 23 January 2023) with two or more domestic premises and common areas that residents would need to pass through in order to evacuate during a fire.
Landlords who are the responsible person of a high-rise building, or a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) let on a room-only basis, must provide more information to occupiers on fire safety as outlined below.
Fire safety instructions
Fire safety instructions must be displayed where they can be seen and understood easily. These should include:
- The evacuation strategy for the building – either stay put or simultaneous evacuation.
- Instructions on how to report a fire. Which number to dial and the address to give the fire brigade.
- Any other instructions if a fire breaks out.
These instructions must be given to new residents as soon as possible after they have moved in. The must be re-issued to ALL residents at least every 12 months and, when any major building change occurs.
Instructions for Fire Doors
Building occupants should be advised to:
- Shut fire doors when not in use
- Not tamper with self-closing doors or the mechanism
- Report any fault or damage to fire doors immediately to the Responsible Person.
These instructions must be given to new residents when moving in and at least every 12 months.
There are additional requirements for buildings above 11m and 18m because the taller the builder, the greater the fire risk. There is a major focus on building plans, external wall systems, essential fire-fighting equipment, PIBs (Premises Information Box) and wayfinding signage.