Fire safe homes attract the best tenants

Hands up all those who would like to burn to death or suffer headaches, nausea, toxicity of the central nervous system and then death..... If you raised your hand, firstly you are rather odd and should seek help; secondly this article is not for you.

Picture of smart terrace housePeople like to feel safe in their home, not only for themselves, but particularly for their families. There is legislation in place to ensure that your place of work is relatively safe from fire. However, similar legislation is not in place for the home, at least not in England. Scotland and Northern Ireland have legislation that forces builders to install a carbon monoxide alarm in homes whenever a new heating system is installed.

ARLA (the Association of Residential Agents) have done a good job to ensure the professionalism of the letting agency profession by insisting on standards and training for all members. They are keen to ensure the safety of the homes their members let and in a recent issue of their exciting new magazine Property Professional they had an article; ‘Fire Safety: a burning issue’ drawing attention to the dangers of carbon monoxide in the home.

As an ARLA agent it is recognised that professionalism attracts landlords. A landlord is looking for someone reliable and honest to market their property for them and ensure they get a good return on their investment. However, it is not just landlords who are seeking something....

Tenants want a home not just a property! This is an important distinction. A property is simply a building structure; a home is property where people and their families live. Ideally in should be in the correct location, be of a style and size that suits them and be a safe refuge for the whole family. Once a property is owned by a landlord, the location, style and size is a done deal, so there is not much a landlord can do to change or improve on these aspects at reasonable cost.

Some of the aspects of a home the landlord can influence are; decor (interior and exterior), fit and finish of windows, doors, kitchens and bathrooms, etc. The way a property is decorated is subjective, as people have different tastes. One thing that they can do, which all tenants will appreciate, is making sure the property is safe to live in.

Blue Watch is a home safety scheme created by fire chiefs and supported by UK fire and rescue services. Blue Watch’s mission is to make all properties safer, particularly domestic properties that generate income - rented living accommodation, homes where children are looked after in return for payment, etc.

Registering a property with Blue Watch is a great way to show prospective tenants that their future home will be as safe as possible for them and their families. A self declared Fire Risk Assessment can be done from as little as £25 (plus VAT). Heat, fire and carbon monoxide detectors get cheaper and better all the time and are easily installed to give occupants peace of mind.

Not only does this demonstrate that a landlord cares, it could possibly save a life...


If you have questions about fire risk assessment, or for help on any aspect of fire safety, call us on 01524 784356 today.

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.

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