Fire risk assessment faqs

Do I have to carry out a fire risk assessment?
Yes. If you provide any guest accommodation the law says you have to do this.

What if it’s my own home?
If you have any paying guests, even in your own home, you must comply with the law on fire safety and carry out a risk assessment. A fire in small premises is just as dangerous as one in a larger property. Nearly all the people who die in fires in this country are trapped in domestic premises.

I only take in a few guests at a time.
Do I need to comply? Yes. If your premises are similar to a family home, the fire safety precautions you will need to take are likely to be simpler than those needed for larger premises with more complicated layouts and staff. However, there is no absolute definition of ‘small’ premises, so you must use your common sense. So, if your premises are larger than a family home, or include long (probably more than 12 metres), unusual or complicated routes to the exit, you will probably need to consider more sophisticated fire safety arrangements than are covered here.

Is my self-catering property covered by the law?
Yes. Any flat, house, cottage or caravan you rent out to others on a short-term arrangement or for a holiday is covered. It is your responsibility to carry out a risk assessment and put in place measures to protect anyone staying there.

Why do I have to carry out a risk assessment?
The law changed in 2006 because the Government believes that those who own or run businesses are the best people to understand and manage fire safety on their premises. Risks change over time and, as the people who run the business, you will be in the best position to find these and to take action. We believe this is a better, more flexible way of making sure we have a high standard of fire safety than the old system of issuing fire certificates. Under the previous legislation, it was all too easy for a business owner to forget about fire safety once a fire certificate had been issued.

I have a fire certificate – do I need to do anything?
Yes. You will need to carry out a fire risk assessment. Fire certificates have been abolished and any that were issued previously are no longer valid.

What happens if I don’t do an assessment?
You are breaking the law, and you could be putting people’s lives at risk. The point of a risk assessment is to reduce the risks and plan how to keep people safe if there is a fire. If you fail to do this, you are putting your guests, your property and your business at risk. You may be inspected by the Fire Service, as part of its responsibility to enforce the law or, someone staying with you or working for you may report you to them if they feel at risk.

WL's current Fire Risk and Access Statement goes some way towards asking our owners to consider the risks to fire in their property and has been adequate in the past. However with recent tragic events in the accommodation sector over the last year this now needs to change with the Landlords Duty of Care.

WL will be able to help in many areas to guide an owner and help them achieve what is required. Use the guidance on our site or call us for more help.