What To Do When Your Rental Property Is Fire-Damaged

Thursday 8th June 2023

Ellen Warren

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Burnt and vandalised rental home

CONTENTS

Regardless of responsibility, a fire occurring on your rental property can be stressful and may lower its value. As a landlord or property manager, you are to provide your tenants with fire safety information and know your rights as a landlord.

Here at ICE Cleaning, we offer rapid-response fire cleaning services. Our technicians can use state-of-the-art technology and solutions to thoroughly purify the air and clean all traces of smoke damage. They can be on-site in several hours in an emergency. 

Read on to learn more about what to do when your rental property has sustained fire damage and what your rights are.

Why tenants need to know about fire safety

A landlord or property manager is legally obligated to inform their residents about fire safety and provide a safe structure. Whether you are handling a block of flats for student accommodation, retirement flats, or privately owned property, you must provide your residents with:

  • Fire detectors
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Fire doors
  • An emergency plan

You must also conduct a fire safety risk assessment often to ensure you are providing your residents with the most up-to-date protection. Failing to supply tenants with these could be disastrous if you are housing vulnerable individuals.

The types of provisions you should provide differ depending on the property you own, which you can discover by checking the London Fire Brigade's page on landlord responsibilities.

Tenants and residents are equally obligated to ensure their accommodation meets fire safety standards, and they are responsible for preventing fires. Although these are not as extensive as what a landlord must provide, they include:

  • Identifying fire hazards
  • Knowing an escape plan
  • Being aware of fire safety
  • Reporting fire hazards

Who is responsible for fire damage?

Responsibility regarding fire damage will depend on the factors that caused the fire in the first place. A tenant at fault may have been negligent or irresponsible on the property, leading to the incident. However, a landlord could be liable if they failed to supply residents with proper safety precautions.

If neither were the cause of the fire, then both parties are responsible for replacing their own property that might have been damaged or lost. A landlord should hire fire restoration services to prevent long-lasting fire damage.

How do fire and smoke damage impact your property?

After a fire, most areas of your property will be unsafe to live in, regardless of where the fire spread. Areas close to the fire could be covered in soot, which is dangerous to touch or clean yourself. The air will also smell of smoke, which is an indicator of soot particles lingering.

These invisible hazards affect those who enter the property briefly or live in it. Soot particles are fine and smaller than red blood cells, so they can infiltrate the body and damage your vital organs.

As well as these threats to your health, a fire causes structural damage which is irreparable without professional fire damage cleaning services. A rental property with fire damage may also be worth less without prompt intervention, permanently devaluing it.

What should a tenant do after a fire?

A tenant should not stay on a fire-damaged property, as this could affect their health and put them at risk of sustaining injuries.

They will need to find temporary accommodation, and although a landlord is not responsible for this, assisting your residents is ideal as they might be considered homeless.

If the tenant’s property was damaged due to the fire, they are responsible for reporting this to their insurance company per their contents insurance. However, if they do not have this, a tenant could claim money from you if the fire was due to your negligence as a landlord.

What to do if your rental property is fire-damaged

If you are a property manager or landlord, you can continue to charge your residents reduced rent during repairs.

Any insurance you have could cover temporary housing fees, but you must always check your policy first. If you are unsure of your rights as a landlord or property manager, check the Guild of Residential Landlords.

Once your tenant leaves the premises, you must restore the property. However, do not do this yourself, as you might be exposing yourself to smoke damage and soot particles which could put you at risk of experiencing:

  • Headaches
  • Skin irritation
  • Coughing
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Respiratory irritation

Instead, you should contact fire clean-up services, who step in and restore your property with the appropriate equipment. Before professionals arrive on-site, you can take some steps in the meantime to help with the process:

  • Turn off the electricity, water, and gas supply
  • Ventilate the property with open doors and windows
  • Place fans in the affected rooms to circulate air
  • Dispose of any fire-damaged furniture you own
  • Ensure the resident has removed their own property
  • Place dehumidifiers and air purifiers in the damaged rooms
  • Record all evidence of damage for your insurance company
  • Contact your insurance company

Get in touch

Our fire damage cleaning services offer a variety of solutions, including fire smoke odour removal and smoke damage cleaning. ICE Cleaning's technicians are available 24/7, every day of the year to clean your property.

If you want to learn more about our cleaning services, send an inquiry to enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk or chat with our staff at 0208 066 0360. Our services are available nationwide, providing the highest quality of cleaning and restoration.

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