What are the new fire safety regulations for Serviced Accommodations/ Holiday Lets in the UK?
On the 1st October 2023, new fire safety regulations have come into play affecting all owners of Serviced Accommodation or "Airbnb" properties in England & Wales. This is the first time small guest paying accommodation premises have been regulated and it has got investors asking a lot of questions: Is SA/ Holiday Letting still worthwhile? How serious are the new regulations? How much will it cost me to implement the new fire safety measures? How much more regulation will be brought in to control Serviced Accommodations? Whilst we can't answer all of these questions without a crystal ball, what we will cover in this article is the new fire safety regulations brought in on the 1st October 2023, and what you need to do as an SA landlord/ management agent to insure that your (or your clients) property is fully compliant.
Fire Risk Assessments
All serviced accommodation properties now require a written fire risk assessment. The fire risk assessment should be specific to the property and consider all potential hazards and needs of the guests.
The risk assessment can be carried out by the landlord/managing agent however this person should have a good understanding of the guidance and how to apply it to the property.
Alternatively, you can have a fire risk assessment undertaken by a competent and qualified risk assessor who will give a detailed report indicating hazards in the property and methods of eliminating/reducing them (We've included ours at the bottom of this article).
Fire protection measures
Below are a few of the fire protection measures that are now required in Airbnb/serviced accommodation properties that you may not know about;
Thumb turn locks – It is required under law to ensure that guests of your property can evacuate the premises as quickly and safely as possible. This means that final exit doors to your property should always be easy to unlock and must not need a key to unlock them, usually the easiest way to implement this is a thumb turn lock on the final exits from the property.
Emergency escape lighting – You now need to ensure that If fire was to interrupt the power supply to your guest accommodation, the lighting would be suitable for guests to find their way out of the property. In some cases, borrowed light in the escape routes may be suitable, however where there is not adequate lighting emergency lighting needs to be considered.
Normal light fittings in the escape routes can be replaced with emergency lights, and in certain small premises it may be acceptable to use rechargeable torches that will illuminate in the event of a power failure.
Firefighting equipment – In small accommodation with cooking facilities a fire blanket and/or multi-purpose fire extinguisher should be provided.
Fire detection systems – Serviced accommodation properties are now required to have interlinked smoke and heat detectors installed to all risk rooms in the properties.
Preferably these interlinked alarms should be hardwired with a tamper proof battery backup, grade D1 alarms. In the short term 2-3 years interlinked long life battery, grade F1 alarms are acceptable.
Compartmentation – Doors to risk rooms in a serviced accommodation property can either be 44mm thick doors of solid timber or with a core comprising flax board or chipboard. Hollow core thin panel internal doors should be replaced with FD30 fire doors.
Need help with your fire risk assessment and safety measures for your guest accommodation?
As a Sourcing Agency specialising in Serviced Accommodation, we have worked hard to develop a power team to assist our clients. Part of our power team is a fully qualified and compliant fire risk assessor specialising in serviced accommodation properties. If you would like to get in touch with any questions or to book a fire risk assessment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and quote HBP10 for a 10% exclusive discount for Hearn Beaumont Property customers and readers.