Fire, Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Safety
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended by the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) 1989 and the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) 1993) was introduced to improve safety by requiring all furniture and furnishings in rented properties to meet the match test or cigarette test.
New furniture is usually marked with a display label (a triangle with a smoking cigarette) to show that it complies with this regulation. There should also be a permanent and non-detachable label stating compliance. Bed bases and mattresses are not required to bear a permanent label but compliance will be indicated if the item has a label stating that it meets BS7177.
The regulations apply to all upholstery and upholstered furniture and loose fittings, permanent or loose covers including: beds, mattresses, pillows, armchairs and scatter cushions.
Non-conforming items are required to be replaced but carpets and curtains were excluded from the regulations.
On 1st Oct 2015 the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 came into force. From that date, private rented sector landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every floor of their properties on which there is a room. This is regardless of whether it is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and this includes a bathroom or toilet. Guidance issued by Government is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and that they should usually be fitted to the ceiling in a circulation space – i.e. on a landing or in a hallway.
Smoke alarms must be checked regularly, both by landlords ensuring that the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy (with potential penalties of up to £5,000 if they don’t comply) and tenants during the tenancy.
CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS
CO does not occur naturally in the atmosphere and is the result of oxygen-starved combustion in improperly ventilated fuel-burning appliances such as gas water heaters, oil and gas furnaces, gas ovens, gas or kerosene space heaters, fire places and wood stoves. CO is generated by any gasoline engine that does not use a catalytic converter.
Note: In the view of the HSE, a non-functioning purely decorative fireplace would not constitute a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.
All CO alarms must comply with British Standard EN 50291 and carry a British or European approval mark, such as a Kitemark.
Warning signs that the gas appliances are not working correctly are lazy yellow flames, black marks or stains around the appliance as well as too much condensation in the room.
The 6 main signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are:
- Loss of consciousness