It is a sign of the times that in general, Landlords, Property Portfolio investors etc are not driven to providing funds to invest in safety enhancements other than the bare minimum that is required by Law.
However there are a growing number who actually understand the Law relating to exemptions and “Extended or long term rental provision” rules, but also believe there is a moral ‘duty of care’ that would enhance the safety of clients whilst occupying a property, thereby increasing the safety aspects and features and equally, significantly reducing the risk factors.
By voluntarily increasing the ‘cover and protection’ provided to ones clients, and using this as a tool to propagate good will, reputations can increase exponentially.
Since 1 January 1997 and subsequently amended (FSO 2008) all furniture provided in furnished rented accommodation – houses, flats and bedsits – must meet the fire resistance requirements of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations, 1988.
What products do the Regulations cover?
Any of the following: which contain upholstery:
• beds, mattresses and headboards
• nursery furniture
• scatter cushions, seat pads and pillows
• garden furniture intended for use in a dwelling
• loose and stretch covers for furniture
The regulations do not apply to:
• sleeping bags or loose covers for mattresses
• bed clothes (including duvets) and pillow cases
• carpets and curtains All furniture and loose and stretch covers must carry a permanent label attached showing the item complies with the Regulations.
It is also of great importance that the statement “With whom the responsibility for compliance with the Regulations ultimately rests with” is in this case interpreted as an Estate agent, Letting agent, Landlord or Property manager.
One needs to be aware that the majority of items purchased and used in rented accommodation, are sourced from outlets such as department stores etc. Products available, unless otherwise stated, are in general “Only for domestic use”. Curtains in particular are not treated and as such (although not required by Law) should be very high on the consideration list for safety concious landlords.
So what we see is scope for client experience enhancement and perceived added value. It is important to note the there are ongoing discussions within the EU Legislative Committee that dictate changes that would need to be implemented in Member States. From a safety point of view we believe it is better to be one or two steps ahead.