UK landlords are being warned not to do their own DIY fire risk assessments
"Don't even consider it – it could be fraught with danger," said Dorian Gonsalves, chief executive officer of the country's leading residential lettings specialist Belvoir.
"Few landlords understand the huge amount of legislation governing rented property these days. Fire safety issues have become so complicated and legislation covers so many different regulations for different types of property in different parts of the UK, that it's no area for amateurs. Seek the advice and guidance of a professional, because the stakes are too high to go-it-alone."
Rented property, from new builds to conversions, bed-sits to 'houses in multiple occupation' (HMOs) can have their own particular fire safety requirements and need individual appraisals.
Some are subject to regulations governing common areas… others require fire doors… and so it goes on.
There are product safety requirements for electrical equipment, plugs and sockets, furniture and furnishing materials.
Gas appliances can kill through carbon monoxide poising… but they can cause fires, too. And electrical wiring needs checking to avoid older properties becoming fire traps.
"There are so many different regulations that landlords who try to understand it all are running the risk of still keeping an unsafe property," said Les Marratt, who owns the Belvoir office in Sutton Coldfield.
"Every landlord has a duty of care to tenants and that is central to the whole fire safety issue. If everything is checked that needs to be checked then they're protected. But if they don't honour that duty of care then landlords can expect a robust response from fire and rescue authorities who enforce regulations.
"Seek expert advice, then – from local authorities, professional safety advisers or experienced letting agents such as Belvoir who help landlords to follow best practice."