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Fire Risk Assessment for holiday lets

Fire Risk Assessment for holiday lets

If you own and run a holiday let business in the UK, there are numerous considerations that demand your attention.  From providing top-notch customer service to maintaining your property's charm.  However, one aspect that should never be overlooked is fire safety.  The need for a comprehensive Fire Risk Assessment for holiday lets is a legal requirement and cannot be overstated.  As it serves as the cornerstone of your property's safety protocols.  Check out our block post on this - Does my business need a Fire Risk Assessment?


Why do I need a Fire Risk Assessment for my holiday let?

  1. Legal Compliance: The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in the UK makes it a legal requirement in Article 9 for business owners to assess fire risks and take appropriate steps to mitigate them. Failure to comply can result in severe penalties which can include a custodial sentence and/or an unlimited fine.  So yes you definitely need a Fire Risk Assessment for a holiday let.
  2. Protecting Lives and Property: Beyond any legal obligations, a Fire Risk Assessment is fundamentally about protecting lives.  In the event of a fire, detection and swift evacuation procedures are essential.  A thorough assessment ensures that escape routes are easy to use, fire alarms are functional, there is sufficient lighting and firefighting equipment is readily available.  By identifying potential hazards and implementing safety measures, you create a safer environment for everyone on your premises.  Also online reviews make it easy for people to highlight safety concerns, and bad reviews can have an extremely long lasting and negative effect on the business.
  3. Preserving Business Continuity: A fire can have devastating consequences for your business, leading to property damage, loss of revenue, and reputational harm. A robust Fire Risk Assessment helps mitigate these risks by putting measures in place to prevent fires from occurring and, if they do, minimising their impact. This not only safeguards your guests and staff but also ensures the continuity of your business operation.  Also if you were to have a fire, even a small one, the Fire Service will likely want to know what other properties you have and check all those for compliance.


What is the cost of a fire risk assessment for holiday lets?

This depends on what your holiday let is.  A flat in a tower block is totally different from a glamping pod.  Normally our prices are in the £350 to £500 range for a holiday let Fire Risk Assessment. With some scope for a discount if there are multiple properties in the same location.  Whilst this maybe more that you have been quoted or are paying elsewhere, note that things have changed recently.  This makes completing a Fire Risk Assessment a much longer process, if you do it correctly.  Fire Risk Assessments now have to include such things as a list of Responsible Persons, all findings, not just "significant ones". But additionally we also pre-check all your servicing paperwork, conduct a complete audit of all your fire safety equipment, perform a comprehensive check of all fire doors, check your training records and if required provide you with our custom built app to maintain your fire safety between each Fire Risk Assessment.

Where things get technical we are also prepared to contact companies who also worked at your holiday let to ensure that they followed the correct rules and guidance.  Some recent examples of this are:

  • Calling a fire door manufacturing company to confirm that a sites fire doors where non-compliant after a joinery company installed them incorrectly.  They ordered them too small then extended the doors
  • Liaising with french textile manufacturer (thank god for Google Translate!) to confirm that a glamping pod companies canvas roofs were indeed fire retardant
  • Getting the owner of a block of flats to make various repairs to fire doors and exit routes

We have created a page on How much does a Fire Risk Assessment cost? which goes into more detail.


Updates to Fire Safety Regulations For Holiday Lets on 1st October 2023

Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 came into force and amended The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.  The big change was that someone completing a Fire Risk Assessment for holiday lets now had to be deemed "competent".  Which meant that you have to both outsource the Fire Risk Assessment and make sure that person is competent by virtue or training or relevant experience.  If your Holiday Let is also part of a larger building containing two or more sets of domestic premises, you must now provide residents with relevant fire safety information in a format that is easily understood by the residents.  Finally, and maybe most importantly, the cap on the level of fines has been removed.  Previously the limit was £1000.  Now its unlimited.  This government webpage explains the changes quite well.


What should be included in a Fire Risk Assessment for holiday lets?

This is a question we get asked all the time.  But we feel its the wrong question to ask. Instead ask -

"What common things should be in place for my holiday let to be considered safe and compliant with fire regulations?"

Our biggest issue is we don't know whether your letting out a glamping pod, log cabin, static caravan, a house, a flat in a house, a Flat in a tower block, or something else like a castle or windmill.  Each has subtly different requirements.  So if your not sure then call us or fill out our contact form and we can give you the correct information.

Fire Risk Assessment

A lot of other fire safety companies online go into excruciating detail about "the causes of fire", "identifying the people at risk" and "fuel sources" etc.  This is often a waste of your time.  Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 states that the person creating or reviewing the Fire Risk Assessment "... must not appoint a person to assist them with making or reviewing an assessment ... unless that person is competent" and "A person is to be regarded as competent for the purposes of this article where the person has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable the person properly to assist in making or reviewing the assessment".  So for 99.99% of holiday let owners, this rules out them doing their own Fire Risk Assessment.  You need to use a competent company to do this for you.  This also applies to reviewing the Fire Risk Assessment, which normally we suggest should be done annually.

Fire Prevention

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 are a good place to start.  The aim being that upholstered furniture, covers, divans, bed-bases, mattresses, pillows are resistant to cigarette, matches, fire or all 3.  The Regulations don't apply to sleeping bags, bedclothes, duvets, loose covers for mattresses (i.e. mattress protectors without padding), pillowcases, curtains and carpets. These products are covered under General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR).  So a good rule of thumb would be to only purchase new items and keep the receipts. Or only accept items where you have traceability back to the original manufacturer.

Fire, Smoke and Heat detection

For even the most basic flat or house, you're not going to be able to use old fashioned battery powered standalone smoke detectors.  The minimum will be interlinked smoke/heat detectors either mains powered or via an integrated battery. The interlinking can either be via mains or wireless.  The technical term for this type is a BS 5839 part 6 Grade D system.  These will need to be in all areas where a fire may start.  But in particular all bedrooms, hallways, corridors, staircases, lounges and dining rooms.  Kitchens, and anywhere where dust or steam may trigger a smoke detector (utility room, laundry etc), should have a linked heat detector instead.  Further requirements in the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 state that you'll also need a carbon monoxide alarm in every room containing a "fixed combustion appliance" such as a combi-boiler, gas cooker, gas fire etc.  This latter legislation seems to imply that you'll only need "one smoke alarm is equipped on each storey".  But note that this relates more to private landlords with tenants on long leases and not short term lets.

Emergency Lighting

Emergency lighting is required for situations where both a fire and a power cut occur at the same time.  It allows people to evacuate quickly even at night.  You have 3 levels with this.  The first is "borrowed light" where you rely on light from street lights.  But this is probably not going to be acceptable since you can't guarantee the street lights will be working - they are out of your control.  Also you don't want people's first task upon hearing the fire alarm to be staggering round an unfamiliar bedroom trying to find the correct cord for the window blinds.  The second option is to provide them with torches or similar.  Which is acceptable only for very small properties.  Plus you risk either the batteries or the entire torch being stolen.  Which will then, in turn, lead to a requirement to check the torches are present and working before every tenant arrives.  The last option is better overall and not too expensive.  You simply replace the existing lights with battery backed up versions - you can now even buy down lights that will last 3 hours.  These will instantly turn on if the power goes off.

You can also get plug in versions which are about the same size as plug in air fresheners.  But these should be avoided as you could have a situation where the lighting circuit fails due to a fire.  But this doesn't affect the ring main plug sockets, which are still on.  So the main lights would be inoperable and this emergency lighting type would also be off.

PAT Testing

Strictly speaking there isn't a specific fire regulation requirement for PAT testing of equipment.  However you have a legal responsibility to ensure that all your electrical equipment is safely maintained.  Without a PAT test its going to be hard to evidence this.

Fire Blankets and Extinguishers

Unless the premises has a someone trained in fire extinguisher use, then there will likely be no requirement for you to provide any fire extinguishers.  However, given this is your property you probably want to give the people renting it every opportunity to put out a fire if safe to do so.  So we suggest providing 2-3 2kg fire extinguishers and a fire blanket in the kitchen.  Checkout our other post on What Fire Extinguisher Should I Use? to help decide which extinguisher to buy.

Exit Routes

Unless your building has specially designed fire refuge areas, or it's a tower block using the now infamous "stay put" strategy.  Your building will be most likely using a "simultaneous evacuation" strategy.  Which basically means everyone leaves as quick as possible and all at the same time.  If its a simple setup with only one door into the property then you might not need any fire escape signage.  Since they must have alreay come via the only escape route.  But if there are 2 or more exits, or if the exit route is not obvious then you are almost certainly going to needs signage.

Another requirement is that any door you use to exit the building in an emergency must be able to be opened from the inside without a key and ideally opens in the direct you exit in.  As a final point, make sure that nothing is stored in exit routes such as corridors or stair cases.  Where people might use them for storage, you may need signage to explain this is not allowed.

Fire Doors

Fire doors are there to stop fires spreading from one area to another.  If your holiday let is a simple whole house type rental then you probably won't need a fire door.  But if it's a flat in a larger building then at least the door into the flat will need to be a self-closing fire door.  But fire door requirements are quite complicated and should really be left to the Fire Risk Assessor to decide on what is required.  Generally if you have a hallway or corridor that various rooms have to go through to exit then every door on this hallway or corridor will need to be a fire door.

Regular Checks

Every if you do a Fire Risk Assessment diligently every year, your fire safety responsibilities don't stop there.  You'll need to be seen to be "preserving the fire safety" in the months between each assessment.  In practice this means that you will have various items that need checking on a regualr schedule.  Some like fire blankets and extinguishers you'd check they are in date every year.  But you'll also want a check that before each let they haven't gone missing or are damaged.  The same will apply to smoke/heat detectors, torches, fire doors, signage etc.  To help with this we can supply our own Fire Logbook App which not only simplifies the checks you need to do.  But also allows you to outsource them to someone else e.g. the cleaner and get weekly/monthly reports that all the items have been checked.

Servicing Records

As well as the above checks you can do yourself, you'll need to get the professionals in for other items.  Such as:

  • Gas Safe Must be done annually.  Note that LPG is a separate certificate if your property uses both types.
  • Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR)  At least every 5 years but the electrician will dictate this dependant on the condition and type of property.
  • Portable Appliance Test (PAT)  Normally done annually but the tester will specify this.  They may also have equipment on different servicing schedules.
  • Lifts  Must be done annually.  Most are not fire rated, so can't be used in an evacuation.  Think about how this might work if you let to disabled or elderly tenants.
  • Extinguishers  Normally an annual check, but for smaller properties consider buying maintenance free ones which can last up to 10 years.  These just need a visual check maybe once per week or month.
  • Fire Alarm + Detectors  Only applicable for larger properties.  The alarm must be tested every 6 months and the detectors every year.
  • Emergency Lighting  Typically an annual inspection.  But check the manufacturers recommendations.
  • Grease Ducts  Used in large kitchens to extract flammable vapour from cooking.  Should be cleaned every 3-12 months depending on how often the kitchen is used.
  • Smoke Control Systems  Used in larger building to vent the smoke from any fires.  Typically annually.
  • Rising Water Mains These are a system of pipes, often found in high-rise buildings, which allows fire fighters to access water on all floors.  Annual service.

Obviously for a small house or campsite you won't have or need all the above.  But if your property is in a block of flats or tower block then you may have some of these which are ultimately managed by the building owner.  Or via a maintenance company.  Your duty however, as a Responsible Person, is to make sure you have copies of the servicing records and get future copies as the servicing is done.

Fire Action Notice

This is a document you'll must provide.  Most will include it in the welcome pack.  It describes what to do in a fire, how to contact the emergency requirements, the premises address and ideally details of the no smoking policy.  If your premises are quite simple in respect to fire safety then often this can be just a wall mounted notice.  Which you can buy online for about £20.00.

Flats with Common Areas

If you just own the flat but the rest of the building is owned by someone else then you'll need to find the owners contact details and be seen to be cooperating with them.  In a fire, in this example, your sole responsibility is in relation to the flat you own.  For which you are the "Responsible Person", a legal term in fire safety.  The building owner is also a Responsible Person but for his areas, mainly the corridors and entrance.  They need to see that you are performing your fire safety duties and vice versa.  We've created a page on the Duties of the Responsible Person which explains all the legal implications of this.

Let me illustrate the importance of this with a real world example.  In the Grenfell Tower fire, we all now know the fire spread up the exterior walls and that a "stay put" strategy was in place.  Many people thankfully ignored the "stay put" and left their flats by walking down the corridor and then down the staircase.  But what isn't commonly known is that some of these tenants had removed the automatic door closer from the main door into their flat.  So when they left, their door stayed open.  As a result when the fire spread through the window of their flat, the toxic smoke was able to travel through the flat and into the corridor.  Many people where trapped when they finally tried to evacuate but found the corridors so thick with smoke they couldn't see their hands.  So it's vitally important that even if you are 100% compliant, you must also make sure that you tenants are not affected by other parts of the building not under your control.


As stated at the beginning, this is not meant to be a comprehensive list of exactly what you'll need.  But hopefully it's provided some answers to what is required in a Fire Risk Assessment for holiday lets.  If you have any specific questions please call us, send us an email or fill out our contact form.


If you want to learn more about fire safety then checkout our other related pages:

Does my business need a Fire Risk Assessment?

How much does a Fire Risk Assessment cost?

Duties of the Responsible Person

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