Rented Accommodation

Statistics show that people who live in rented accommodation have a greater chance of having a fire.

One of the problems is that rented accommodation may not always be as well maintained. If you can't get your landlord to make your house safe, do it yourself - it could save your life.

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When renting a property it is important to take steps to prevent fire, as statistics show that you are seven times more likely to have a fire if you live in rented accommodation. Here are some of the things you can do to keep yourself safe.

Under the law your landlord has to meet the following safety obligations to keep your home safe from fire.

They will need to:

  • Fit smoke detectors on each level of the premises.
  • Make sure your gas and electric appliances are in good working order - gas appliances should be checked by a Corgi registered gas fitter every year, and electrical appliances should carry the British Safety Standard sign
  • Ensure your furnishings are fire resistant and meet fire safety regulations
  • Show you the relevant safety certificates so you can see when appliances were last checked
  • Supply you with a carbon monoxide detector for gas and solid fuel appliances.

If you are worried your landlord is not doing enough to ensure your safety, contact your local Council's Environmental Health Office, who will be able to give you more details about your landlord's obligations and can force your landlord to provide adequate fire precautions.

You should:

  • Make sure the property has at least one smoke alarm fitted – you can contact Cornwall Fire, Rescue and Community Safety Service for a free home fire safety check, they may also be able to install a smoke alarm for you
  • Avoid overloading any of your electrical sockets
  • Ensure that you extinguish cigarettes properly
  • Plan an escape route and make sure everyone in your house knows how to escape in the event of a fire.

Questions to ask your landlord:

  • Has the electrical wiring in the property been checked lately?
  • Are sockets, switches, light fittings and so on checked every year?
  • Is there a regular maintenance programme for gas heaters and appliances?
  • Are the chimneys and flues cleaned and checked regularly?
  • Is the house registered with the local authority as being lived in by more than one household (that is, as being 'multiple occupation')?

You may not be able to force your landlord to do the necessary checks but, if you have any concerns, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or the Environmental Health Officer for further advice.

Parents may wish to check the safety of student accommodation. If you have concerns about the standard of the accommodation you should contact the university for advice.

Visit our page on Advice for Students for more help and information.