Fire Safety Act 2021

The UK Parliament has recently passed the Fire Safety Act 2021

For England, the Act commenced on 16 May 2022 and for Wales, from 1 October 2021.  

One of the primary pieces of fire safety legislation is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO), which applies to common parts of a residential building (among other things not relevant to our audience). 

The responsible person (in our context, usually the landlord) must carry out a fire risk assessment of the common parts and follow the order which requires keyless exit, emergency lighting, fire alarms and extinguishers, for example (not a limited list).

However, the FSO in its current form is unclear about external walls and interior doors leading onto a common area.

The Fire Safety Act intends to fix this by amending the FSO and adding clarity to the situation “Where a building contains two or more sets of domestic premises”. In such a building, the FSO will apply to “the building's structure and external walls and any common parts” and “all doors between the domestic premises and common parts”. 

External walls will include doors or windows in those walls and anything attached to the exterior of those walls (including balconies).

Guidance to the Act has been published by the Welsh Government.

View Related Handbook Page

Fire Safety

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (known as the FSO) introduced duties regarding fire safety in the common areas of HMOs, flats and maisonettes. The task is placed on the responsible person, who must carry out a fire risk assessment and take specific action to minimise fire risk in the common parts. Section 1 of the Fire Safety Act 2021 commenced in Wales on 1 October 2021.

Duties of the Manager of an HMO

The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Wales) Regulations 2006 place specific duties on the manager of an HMO