The owners of a house in multiple occupation (HMO) need to abide by several rules and regulations; fire safety is one of them. This does not mean that the landlords of regular properties do not need to ensure tenant’s safety. But as per rule, HMOs need more safety rules as more tenants are living in such properties. Thus, they need to implement and assess fire safety plans.
If you are a new investor, landlord, or property manager, you need to fully aware of HMO fire regulations. Therefore, for your help, government regulations provide you with a guide and check-list for fire safety.
Why HMOs Need More Fire Safety?
As compared to other buy-to-let properties, multi-let properties/HMOs need to follow several government rules regarding fire safety. This is because the number of tenants in such properties is more than other letting properties. Normally the apartments with single tenancy do not have all the rooms locked.
But in HMOs where two or more tenants live together in separate rooms, the doors are usually locked. This reduces the chance of getting out in case of an emergency such as a fire in the apartment. To ensure tenant’s lives are safe in HMOs, here are some guidelines to follow by HMO Property Designs.
1. Make A Fire Safety Plan
First things first, make a proper plan for ensuring the safety of HMO property. It can include everything from where to install fire alarms to have a proper escape route. You need to make sure it is the best possible safety plan according to the property’s layout.
The fire escape plan for a two-floor apartment and a three-floor property cannot be the same. However, there are some key measures that each HMO property, no matter what the size, needs to incorporate. A few of them are listed below in this article.
2. Install Thumb-Turn Locks
If there is a fire accident in any room of an HMO, each second matters. The life of tenants depends on it, and thumb-turning locks are best suited for such situations. Imagine you have to look for the room key in such a chaotic situation, that’s terrible! Thus, according to the safety regulation, each room must have thumb-turn locks.
3. Install Fire Doors
HMOs need to have fire doors in place; this is to protect the escape routes. Using fire doors, the spread of fire gets delayed and gives increases the chance of securing the rest of the areas. Therefore, the highly risked place such as the kitchen needs to be separated through a fire door. Depending on the size of the apartment, you can install these doors in bedrooms and communal places. The more the number of fire doors in HMO, the more secure the tenants will be.
4. Upgrade And Test Fire Alarms
If your property is old and you have not revisited the alarm system, it means you are not following the fire safety protocol. You have to upgrade the alarm system by installing the latest alarms in bedrooms, communal areas, and corridors. After installation, test the smoke and heat alarms to ensure that they are working properly. If your property is large, install an integrated alarm system, it will work better for you.
5. Fire Windows For Safety
In some HMOs, windows are the primary escape plan in case of fire. Therefore, make sure they are of the right size and located in the right place. Perfectly fitted windows allow the people in an apartment to move out quickly, in this case, the tenants. Apart from safety, HMOs also need to make each room well-ventilated, and windows are just perfect for that.
Fire Safety Checklist
So here is a quick checklist by HMO Property Designs for you to make sure the apartment is safe:
- All areas of apartments have fire-alarms
- Escape routes are well-lit and visible
- All furniture is fire-safe
- The kitchen and bedrooms have fire doors in place
- Assessing and executing fire plans
- Rooms have thumb-turning locks
If your HMO fulfills the above criteria, it means it aligns with the fire-safety regulation. It is also important to consult the local HMO enforcement officer as different areas may have different regulations. In such a situation, getting your apartment visited by an HMO officer will help you make your apartment safe.
We are hopeful that this article provided you insights regarding the fire safety requirements of an HMO. Without abiding by the State’s regulation regarding an HMO’s safety, you may have to encounter several consequences. Check all the boxes of the fire safety checklist and then let your apartment.