The importance of fire doors in HMOs
Fire doors are a nationwide legal requirement for Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs). All doors that lead to an escape route must be fire resistant and close automatically, and it is also advised that fire doors are fitted to high-risk rooms such as kitchens.
Research suggests that certain types of HMOs present a significantly greater health and safety risks to tenants than comparable single occupancy dwellings, which further highlights that fire safety measures are not being implemented as they should.
Fire safety risk assessments carried out by ENTEC found that in all houses converted into bedsits, the annual risk of death per person is 6 times higher than in comparable single occupancy houses. In the case of bedsit houses of three storeys or more, the risk is 16 times higher than in comparable single occupancy houses.
Failing to install and maintain fire doors in an HMO property not only places inhabitants at increased risk, but can result in unlimited fines, with tenants also able to recoup the cost of their last 12 months rent.
Fines vary depending upon the offence, however landlords have been fined up to £55,000 for multiple fire safety breaches, and more where tenants have suffered injuries in a fire. If fire door regulations are not followed, it could also result in licences and insurance being invalidated in the case of any claim being made for fire damage.
The British Woodworking Federation has provided a fact sheet on fire door safety within HMO’s which you can download here, or you can read our previous blog post on how to complete a check on a fire door.