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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Fire safety responsibilities

Building control requirements mean that most newer properties contain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. But, if you live in an older property, your landlord may not be required to provide these items. Your landlord is only required to put a smoke or fire alarm in your home if it is a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO)

If you don't have a fire alarm in your home, ask your landlord to check if this is okay with his or her insurer. Most insurance policies require some sort of alarm system.

Worried about fire safety?

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service may carry out fire safety checks free of charge if someone in the property is elderly or has a serious illness or disability.  In some cases, the fire service will also fit a smoke or fire detector in your home.  Visit the NIFRS website to arrange a home safety check.

Tenant rights

Most tenants who are concerned about a lack of fire precautions or escape routes have few rights. The only way to deal with a problem over fire precautions is to negotiate with your landlord.

If your landlord has not provided a smoke alarm or other fire safety materials, you could ask for these to be installed. It may make it difficult for a landlord to claim on an insurance policy if the property is damaged in fire if no preventative measures have been taken.

If your landlord refuses to install a smoke alarm, contact the Fire Service who may be able to carry out a fire safety check and supply you with a free smoke detector, if you have a low income.

Fire safety if you live in a HMO

A HMO is a particular type of shared housing. Your home may be a HMO if you live with at least 2 other people, and you form three separate households. Landlords of HMOs have to make sure that the property meets certain extra standards, and this includes providing fire-fighting equipment and fire detection systems. 

Reducing the risk of fire

There are things that you can do to minimise risks to you in your home, such as:

  • plan what to do in case of fire and be aware of all escape routes;
  • make sure that smoke alarms are fitted and in working order;
  • make sure that exit routes are clear;
  • check that all appliances have been switched off and unplugged before you go to bed;
  • report any faulty equipment or problems to your landlord immediately.

Fire safety standards for furniture

All landlords who rent furnished accommodation must make sure that the furniture they provide is fire resistant. This applies to all furniture provided after 1 March 1993 regardless of when your tenancy started.

If the furniture your landlord provides is not fire resistant contact Consumerline on 0845 600 62 62.