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Fire safety in self contained Victorian flats


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A Victorian house was converted into 4 flats pre 1991. 1 flat on each floor. 3 share a communal entrance/hallway. 2 flats sharing the communal hallway are rented out. The flats are leashold and the freeholder lives in the basement flat.

I have lots of questions and would like to know who I can instruct to answer them. I have read lots of the Regs/guidance and end up going around in circles. Some questions include:

1. Are we an unlicensed HMO?

2. Do we need a fire safety assessment covering the entire building not just the communal hallway?

3. Will a FSA advise us what fire alarm system we need? 

4. Who's responsible the freeholder or the landlords? The management company no longer exists. 

Can anyone recommend someone in London I can pay to hold my hand on this so that I can make sure everything is as it should be.

Many thanks


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1. Possibly as they are converted. You would need to check with your Local Authority to see if they operate an additional HMO Licensing Scheme that may require them licensing.

2. Common areas, although the Housing Act applies to the whole premises and an inspection for compliance with this may be in order.

3. The Fire Service or LA Housing EHO may give advice, but then again some may refer you back to your FRA. A competent risk assessor will be able to give clear detailed advice on the type of system required as part of an FRA.

4. Difficult to say (& one of the weaknesses of the legislation).There is no employer, so it falls down to either the landlord or a person having , to any extent, of the premises.

Richard Mackey's company does FRAs in London and may be able to help,tell him I gave you his details. http://www.completefireprotection.com/contact-us/42/

Too far away for me to help you sadly! 

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AB beat me to it but I will submit it anyway.

Flats are subject to The Housing Act 2004 (HA) and the common areas to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RR(FS)O).

The HA is enforced by the local council and requires the whole building to be safe which includes fire safety, also if you are designated an HMO then you may need to be registered as a licensed premises.

The RR(FS)O enforced by the Fire and Rescue Service requires the common areas to be subject to the order which includes conducting a fire risk assessment. 

1. Check with the local council if you are an HMO or you could check out https://www.firesafe.org.uk/houses-in-multiple-occupation/ may be useful.

2. It is the common areas that require a fire risk assessment under the RR(FS)O.

3. The guidance for your premises is FIRE SAFETY Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing and provides guidance on all the fire safety needs you may require.

4. For the common areas RR(FS)O defines the Responsible Person (RP), who as the duty to implement the order and in your situation the owner or the person acting for the owner if they have full control, (managing company) is the RP. 

Selecting a fire risk assessor you should study A Guide to Choosing a Competent Fire Risk Assessor.


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Check out https://www.iqfiresolutions.com/resources/responsible-person-duty-holder-flats-maisonettes.html it may be usful but take special notice of the last line of the page. (Note. Treat the above information with caution and if you intend acting upon it, take qualified legal advice.)

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Memnon

If they are self contained flats and no one shares  facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms, then they are no HMOs, unless more than one third are let out on short term tenancies.


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