Principles of Fire Safety in HMOS
It is generally accepted that Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) present a greater fire safety risk to their occupants than single family homes of a similar design.
HMOs cover a wide variety of premises and include bedsits, lodgings, hostels, student houses, migrant worker accommodation and self-contained flats in buildings that have been converted from other uses. They may contain as few as three people or hundreds. Due to the diverse nature of HMOs there is no single way to protect residents from the effects of smoke and fire.
All persons running HMOs with non-residential parts such as hallways, lifts and external escape routes, must legally carry out a Fire Risk Assessment and it if necessary keep a record of that assessment. It is a requirement of every HMO licence issued by Hastings Borough Council that a Fire Risk assessment is undertaken and recorded.
Having undertaken a Fire Risk Assessment it may be necessary to undertake works to provide enhanced protection to both prevent the spread of fire and to provide a suitable means of escape from the property. Your Fire Risk Assessment should detail where improvements are required to make the property safe. Guidance on the standards applied by local authorities can be found in the LACORS document Housing -Fire Safety. This document is a nationally agreed document between the Chief Fire Officers Association and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. HBC Licensing will use this document in setting licence conditions. Extracts from this document are reproduced here to give guidance on Fire Alarm systems for different types of HMO commonly found in Hastings.
All fire alarm systems must be maintained in accordance with manufacturers' instructions and BS5839, which describes testing and maintenance procedures for complex (Grade A) and simpler (e.g. Grade D) fire alarm systems. Most Grade A (full panel system alarms with call points) should be tested weekly with a full engineers inspection undertaken every six months. The National Landlords Association (NLA) has produced a "Fire Safety Logbook" which contains guidance on type and frequency of fire alarm testing.
Houses in Multiple Occupation
- Report an empty home
- Report a rogue Landlord
- HMO enquiries
- Report housing disrepair
- I need landlord advice
- Report nuisance from another property
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