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Landlords and Local Authorities


Landlords and Local Authorities

The Housing Acts 1985 and 2004 make housing authorities specifically responsible for keeping the condition of all housing in their area, including their own housing stock, under review and for checking all aspects of health and safety, including fire safety. The legal duty on local housing authorities applies in respect of the whole building including the private living accommodation.

We have made an audit tool available to help councils check that proper fire precautions are in place when blocks of flats are refurbished. Housing providers are legally responsible for making fire risk assessments.  Read the audit tool.

We have also shared two guides for Councillors to explain what they should look out for during estate visits, and questions they should put to housing managers and wardens. 

Councillor guide on fire safety for use during council meetings
Councillor guide on fire safety for use during estates visits

You may also find it useful to refer to these risk assessment guides.

Read our fire safety advice for flats and maisonettes.


If you are a 'responsible person' you have a legal duty to keep your property safe from fire through the provisions of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. 

You have to ensure there is a comprehensive fire risk assessment that details the fire safety provisions that are in the property. This is usually carried out by a professional fire risk assessor and might identify additional measures that should be carried out as appropriate.

You should also develop an emergency evacuation plan for residents and ensure they know the actions they need to take in the event of a fire.

This plan must make sure residents and others are safe, that a fire can be detected and residents are warned if they need to evacuate. The structural protection provided within the building must protect residents or allow them to safely escape from fire or smoke using the corridors and staircases if necessary. 

Read more.

We have taken action ourselves and supported prosecutions by local authorities when we have had concerns about fire safety.

Smoke alarm regulations

The Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 requires landlords to ensure the fire safety of their tenants as well as offer protection against carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Landlords are required to install a smoke alarm on every floor of their property and a carbon monoxide alarm in rooms containing a solid fuels appliance, such as log burners or open fires. 

Enforcement of the Regulations is the responsibility of the local housing authority, which can require landlords to fit alarms and if the landlord fails to do so has the power to arrange for them to be fitted. There is a power to levy a penalty charge on the landlord. The penalty charge is limited to £5000.    

Who does it apply to?

The regulations apply to all ‘specified tenancies’, i.e. residential premises where a person or persons have a right to occupy the premises and rent is payable.

The regulations specifically exclude registered social landlords from these obligations. Certain types of properties and arrangements are also excluded, e.g.  

  • Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)    
  • Lodgers
  • Long-leases 
  • Student halls of residence    
  • Hostels and refuges 
  • Care homes  
  • Hospitals  
  • Hospices 

Other legislation applies to many of the properties and arrangements that have been excluded. 

Landlords' leafal requirements
Click on the image to download
Click on the image to download

Landlords must check that the alarms are working at the start of every new tenancy, with landlords potentially facing penalties of up to £5,000, if they do not comply.  

Additional information

Further information to assist landlords in keeping their tenants safe, this not only protects their tenants from injury but also their property from any potential damage.  

Latest Update :
20 October 2021
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