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Guest FergTren

Smoke alarms in self-contained flats

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Guest FergTren

Hi,

I have a lease on a flat which is in a converted house. In total there are 3 self contained flats, although 2 share a common entrance/communal area.

The landlord (freeholder) wishes to install a hard wired smoke alarm and emergency lighting.

Given that the conversion to flats was done prior to 1991, I do not believe there is a statutory requirement to install this extra equipment. The individual dwellings are each fitted with battery powered smoke alarms.

Many thanks for your assistance, and hopefully, clarification!

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The common areas are subject to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and maybe as the result of a fire risk assessment the findings was to install a hard wired smoke alarm and emergency lighting in the common areas to protect you and your neighbours. Quite often it requires the installation of a heat detector in each flat to give early warning instead of waiting for the smoke to enter the common areas or when the flat is empty.

For more information download HOUSING – FIRE SAFETY Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing which is the guide for these types of premises.

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Guest EllioCo

Hi there,

I live in a five story Georgian house that has been converted into six apartments. Three of which are owned by the people living there (including our apartment) - basement, found, first floor. The others in the upper floors are owned by the freeholder.

The freeholder has told us that we need to pay quite a significant amount of money toward compliance with Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

My question is whether those of us that own our properties are liable for compliance or just the freeholder who has buy-to-let on the upper floors and, therefore, is a landlord?

I want to live in safe accommodation, and I believe we do (the shared areas are always clear, easily accessible and well lit), but I don't want the freeholder to make us pay for something that is solely his liability (if that's signage etc).

Thanks,

Elliot

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Guest TomLan

Hi,

I am trying and struggling to find an answer re the following.
I am a landlord and own a house which is split into 4 self contained flats. These have a mains operated fire alarm system controlled by a central control panel.

The question is. Does the system need to be on a maintenance contract with an alarm company.Or does it just need to be serviced on a yearly/twice yearly basis?

I have spend hours trying to find the actual answer so hoping you may know

Thanks

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It depends on the grade of system you have and if you have manual call points. If it is a grade A system it should be serviced by a competent person which means a fire alarm service engineer.

The following recommendations are applicable, according to BS 5839-6:2002.

Testing

Grade A systems should be tested every week in accordance with the recommendations of 44.2 of BS 5839-1:2013.

All systems, other than Grade A systems, should be tested at least every week by operating all fire alarm devices in the dwelling. In the case of smoke alarms and any heat alarms, the weekly test may be carried out by use of a test button on each of the smoke alarms and heat alarms installed in the dwelling.

If the dwelling has been unoccupied for a period during which the normal and standby supply (if provided) could have failed, the occupier should check immediately on reoccupying the dwelling that the system has not suffered total power failure.

Maintenance

a] Grade A systems should be inspected and serviced at periods not exceeding six months in accordance with the recommendations of Clause 45 of BS 5839-1:2013. An inspection and servicing certificate of the type contained in G.6 of BS 5839-1:2013 should be issued. In houses in multiple occupation, batteries in any radio-linked devices (such as manual call points, automatic detectors and fire alarm devices) should be changed by the servicing organization before the low battery warning condition recommended by 27.2b)3) of BS 5839-1 is likely to be given.

b] Grade B and Grade C systems should be serviced every six months in accordance with the supplier’s instructions.

Where experience shows that undue deposits of dust or dirt are likely to accumulate, so affecting the performance of the system before detectors are cleaned or changed at the intervals necessary for compliance with the recommendations of 26.2a), 26.2b), or 26.2c), more frequent cleaning or changing of detectors should be carried out.

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Guest

Hello, I live in a residential block of flats. The building was converted into flats (6 in total). They are self-contained purpose built flats in a four storey Victorian semi-detached house in NW3. I have been asking our managing agents and the freeholder for smoke alarms etc for 4 years, and no one is taking any notice. What is the building supposed to have by law in terms of fire safety please as I think it is time to throw the rule book at them. It is concerning.

With thanks and best regards,

Manuela

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If you are a tenant and the managing agent is your landlord you should check out https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smoke-and-carbon-monoxide-alarms-explanatory-booklet-for-landlords but if you are an owner or lease holder you will have to provide your own, but check out the above document which should explain.

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Guest Stewart Kerry

I own the long lease on 2 houses that were converted into 3 each self contained flats. They are not HMOs requiring licensing. The fire alarms are tested weekly & serviced every 6 months. The alarm company who does the testing has announced that every single fire extinguisher has failed & needs replacing, also one system does not meet current requirements & needs completely changing. This company has been testing & supposedly servicing the systems for several years. Should they have been testing extinguishers on the 6 monthly service & am I legaly obliged to suddenly change a complete system even though the property does not require licensing ?

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Stewart who is the Responsible Person, you or the landlord and who conducts the fire risk assessment, it should be the landlord. Also who employs the alarm company because they need to answer a few questions. Fire alarms should be tested/serviced weekly and 6 monthly depending on the grade of alarm installed. Extinguishers should be serviced annually and an extended service every five years depend on the type of extinguishers. The service company needs to be asked why the extinguishers have been condemned and why the fire alarm needs replacing. If it is because the fire alarm system does not meet current requirements that is not a good enough reason, providing it met the required standard when installed. I think the service company needs quizzing to ensure everything is above board. 

Whether its a HMO or not has no bearing on the case the applicable legislation is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the guidance is  HOUSING – FIRE SAFETY Guidance on fire safety provisionsfor certain types of existing housing

 

 

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Guest John P

Hello, is anyone able to give me clarity in the following case re smoke detector requirements?

I have a 3 bedroom, Victorian purpose built (ie not a conversion), ground floor, terrace flat in London. It has its own private entrance. The entire terrace is ground floor and first floor only. I let it to a group of 3 friends and as such it is a non-licenceable (/non regulated HMO). My estate agent says I only require battery operated smoke detectors, is this correct? I found various information offering different advice on the internet, some of which suggests mains wired smoke detectors may be required. Other information suggests that as a non regulated HMO and self contained single storey flat share, only battery operated smoke detectors are needed.

Many thanks if anyone can clarify!

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I am assuming each flat has its own private entrance/exit, therefore there are no common areas therefore The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 does not apply. The Housing Act will apply but because it is a shared flat, it is not HMO, but The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 does apply and you will require a smoke detector also CO detector depending on the type of heating you have, check the legislation.

 

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Guest John P

Thanks Tom.

Yes, each flat has its own private entrance from the street and there are no common areas.

I was under the impression that a single storey 3 bedroom flat where the occupiers are only friends and not family, forms an HMO albeit an HMO not requiring licencing. It would be really useful if could you please let me know why you write it is not an HMO.

Good to read you mention The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. It already conforms to those requirements and I have a CO detector although no solid fuel burner as there is gas central heating and I think it is sensible to have a CO detector in that case.

Thanks again and any more info much appreciated.

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