Fire safety advice for tenants

As someone living in a rented home, we want to make sure you know everything you need to know about your rights and responsibilities around fire safety.

If you’re a landlord, we have a separate page dedicated to safety advice for landlords, letting agents and property managers.

Keeping safe as a tenant

  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms once a week, or at least once a month as a minimum. Once you’ve moved in, it is your responsibility to make sure your smoke alarms are working. 
  • Keep all exits and emergency access to your building clear, this includes both communal corridors and in your home.
  • Keep door and window keys somewhere accessible. Ideally, this would be somewhere close to the windows and doors (but keep security in mind).
  • Know how to isolate the gas, electric and water supply.
  • Report any damage or defects you see to your landlord or letting agent as soon as you see it. For example, damaged fire doors or a faulty alarm.

If there is a fire

We do not recommend you try to put out a fire yourself.

  • Follow the safety advice for your building from your landlord.
  • Your building may have a ‘stay put’ policy so it’s important to make sure you know what you should do if there is a fire.
  • Read our advice on what to do if there is a fire
  • Familiarise yourself with our advice for making an escape plan.

Moving in checklist – six steps to safety

  1. Check you have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Your landlord, at the start of your tenancy, has a responsibility to make sure the smoke alarms are working.
  2. Check what you should do if there’s a fire in your building. You should know whether your building has a ‘stay put’ policy or whether you should evacuate on hearing the fire alarm.
  3. If you need to evacuate - plan and practice your escape plan in the event of a fire. Think about the safety of yourself and others in your home.
  4. Make sure your landlord has provided you with a Gas Safety Certificate (where gas is supplied to the property).
  5. Check that any electrical appliances are safe and in good working order. The landlord should maintain any appliances they have supplied.
  6. Read our top tips to reduce your risk of having a fire in your home. You may also want to consider booking a home safety visit.

You can read our advice for landlords and letting agents to make yourself aware of what your landlord needs to have in place.

Report a fire safety concern

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It’s really important that you report any repair issues or fire safety concerns to your landlord or letting agent so they can take action to fix them. Let them know if you consider the issue to be urgent and the reason why. Always give your landlord an opportunity to put things right.

You should contact your local authority if:

  • you are worried about contacting your landlord for any reason
  • there is a risk to your safety
  • you feel your landlord is not meeting the required standard.

Further information about your rights and responsibilities can be found on the gov.uk website:

Report a concern about a shared area of your building

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If you live in a building that has areas shared by other tenants, your landlord has legal obligations under the Fire Safety Order as well as the Housing Act.

If you would like to report a fire safety concern about the shared area of the building, please email our team firesafetyhelpdesk@dsfire.gov.uk.

In some cases we will pass on your concern to your local authority. They are the lead authority for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and blocks of flats.

If you rent business premises

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If you are an employer or have control of premises, then you will need to comply with fire safety law. Find out what you need to do.

Your landlord or building owner may also have responsibilities, such as maintaining the shared areas of the building. Or you may need their permission to make changes to the premises such as installing a fire warning system.

We strongly recommend you check the terms of your tenancy or lease agreement and seek legal advice if you are unsure.

If you smell gas or suspect a carbon monoxide leak

Call the national gas emergency helpline on 0800 111 999.

  • Do turn off the gas at the meter unless the meter is in a cellar/basement.
  • Do put out naked flames.
  • Do keep people away from the area affected - immediately get outside in fresh air.
  • Do open doors and windows on your way out.
  • Don’t smoke or strike matches.
  • Don’t turn electrical switches on or off.