You must carry out a fire risk assessment for each property you rent out. You must record the significant findings where five or more persons are employed or a licence is in force. In practice, it is a good idea to record the risk assessment findings in all cases for future reference.
No particular system or method of fire risk assessment is mandatory; instead, the Fire Safety Order concentrates on achieving satisfactory outcomes. The objective is to identify and evaluate all fire risks to which ‘relevant persons’ are exposed, in order to create a “suitable and sufficient” fire risk assessment.
What should fire risk assessments consider?
Relevant persons are those legally allowed on the premises, e.g. staff, visitors, residents, contractors etc.
The aim of a fire risk assessment is to reduce the risk of fire, the risk of fire spread, and ensure that people can escape safely should a fire occur.
The fire risk assessment should systematically identify all fire related hazards within the premises and analyse how those hazards may affect the building and its occupants. It should also assess the level of risk that those hazards present, and identify suitable control measures for any significant findings made.
Whilst you may be able to complete a fire risk assessment for simple premises yourself, it is often best done by a fire safety professional, particularly for houses of multiple occupation, or if you have a large portfolio.
The Fire Safety Order also requires the fire risk assessment to be reviewed at regular intervals (usually annually), whenever there is a reason that it is no longer valid, or if significant changes to the matters to which it relates are proposed, e.g. altering the building or changes to occupancy/tenants.