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Question

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms (England)

Use of open fire

6 Apr 2017 | 1 comment

I am receiving conflicting advice about use of an open fireplace. I am told by my agent that if I give permission to my new tenant to use the open fireplace (which is in working order and has a chimney sweep certificate) I have to provide a fire guard attached to the wall. A fire specialist told me if the fireguard doesn’t work and the fire spits and sets fire to the house I am liable because it is the fireguard I have supplied.
What is correct?
I am also told that I need a CO alarm. But I understood that was for ‘appliances’ not open fires which I have never considered to be an appliance.
Which is correct please?

Thanks
Louise

Answer

1 Comment

  1. guildy

    The first thing you need is a CO alarm. An open fire is classed as a solid fuel burning appliance.

    There is no specific law that says all open fireplaces need a fire guard (unlike the CO detector regs for example).

    However, if the property has more than 2 sharers, it would need one because there must be “adequate fire precautions”. The same principle would apply if the property is in a converted block of flats because a fire risk assessment is needed and I can’t think why that wouldn’t be a recommendation of the assessment.

    Generally a person operating a business (including a landlord) must ensure all persons (not just in their employment) are not in a position which may pose a risk to their health and safety.

    We think it must surely be better to have a professionally installed fire guard than not? The chance of injury without one is surely far greater than not having one.

    Finally, this would almost certainly be a requirement under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). But, that only applies after an inspection by the local authority so is reactive rather than proactive.

    For these reasons, our tenancy agreement prohibits the use of open fires without consent. That way if you give consent (like the situation you’re in), you know to make sure everything is in place before allowing its use. If they used it without prior consent, that would be their own problem and breach of tenancy.

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