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As of October 1 2023, owners of holiday lets are required to meet new fire safety regulations.
The new rules, which apply to holiday homes in England and Wales, include measures on fire doors, smoke alarms, and lighting.
Read on to find out who the rules apply to and what you need to do to comply.
The new rules are designed to make sure all holiday let owners – even those who let out a room for a single night – make sure their properties are fire safe.
Below is an overview of what’s changing.
It was already a legal requirement for holiday home owners to complete a fire risk assessment before renting out their property.
The new rules state that small holiday let businesses (those with fewer than five employees) now need to formally record their risk assessments. These should be displayed somewhere in the property, and are often included in the welcome pack.
It’s important to note that you can complete a fire risk assessment yourself, but this should only be done for the smallest properties with the simplest layouts. For any other type of holiday let, the assessment should be completed by a professional.
There’s more information about fire risk assessments on the government website.
Holiday let owners need to make sure that if a fire knocks out internal lighting, there’s enough ‘borrowed lighting’ such as streetlights for guests to be able to see.
If there isn’t, owners can provide rechargeable torches if the mains supply fails.
Larger properties will need more complex automatic emergency lighting systems (check the relevant guidance for more information).
Any escape routes from holiday homes should be lined with fire doors that take more than 30 minutes to burn.
Front doors of one and two bedroom apartments should also be self-closing fire doors.
For smaller holiday homes, fire doors should be checked every six months to make sure they remain fit for purpose.
Holiday let owners are now required to have linked, hard-wired smoke detectors in all bedrooms and living rooms in their property. They should also make sure heat detectors are installed in kitchens.
Complex alarm and fire detection systems should be checked every six months, while it’s recommended that property managers test that alarms are working between each set of guests.
Owners of holiday lets are required to provide equipment such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets.
This equipment will need to be checked once a year by a competent person. It’s also recommended that weekly checks are completed to make sure the equipment is in good working order.
Alongside the measures listed above, there are also fire safety rules on the following:
The fire safety rules apply to all holiday homes in England and Wales, but there’s different guidance to follow depending on the size of your property.
A smaller property is defined as: a single premises of ground floor, or ground and first floor, providing sleeping accommodation for up to 10 people. Individual flats, whether within a purpose-built block of flats or a house that has been converted into flats, are also included.
A larger property is defined as: any property that’s open plan (regardless of the number of bedrooms), or any property that has more than four bedrooms or sleeps 10 or more guests.
If your property doesn’t comply with the new rules, you could be forced to stop renting it out until it’s been made fire safe.
Non-compliant holiday let owners could also be fined an unlimited amount or be given a prison sentence of up to two years if an inspection by the fire service finds that their property does not meet the requirements.
Do you have any unanswered questions about the new fire safety rules for holiday lets? Let us know in the comments below.
Conor Shilling is a Copywriter at Simply Business with over two years’ experience in the insurance industry. A trained journalist, Conor has worked as a professional writer for 10 years. His previous experience includes writing for several leading online property trade publications. Conor specialises in the buy-to-let market, landlords, and small business finance.
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