Who Is Responsible For Fire Damage To Rental Property?

Wednesday 12th April 2023

Ellen Warren

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Electrical socket on fire

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When a fire occurs on a property you rent, it can be hard to know who is responsible. Regardless of what caused the fire to start, professional cleaners must be brought in to make the property safe.

Here at ICE Cleaning, we offer rapid and effective fire clean-up services. Our qualified technicians use a combination of specialist techniques and odour neutralisation to restore your home. They are available nationwide, 365 days a year, including bank holidays.

Read on to find out more about who is financially responsible for taking care of the cleaning process, and what to do after a fire.

Who is responsible for fire safety?

A landlord and tenant both have their own responsibilities that they need to maintain throughout a tenancy contract.

Although you reside in the property, you do not own it and therefore have little control over the fire precautions your landlord must organise. Tenants should be aware of their rights and some areas of fire safety. Here are some steps you can take to stay safe:

  • Keep balconies free of flammable items or overcrowding furniture
  • Know the escape plan your landlord is obligated to provide
  • Assess the separation between flats or businesses for fire risks, holes, and cracks
  • Ensure an exit is always kept clear
  • Use the online Home Fire Safety Checker to find potential hazards and approach your landlord with any concerns

Ultimately, landlords should ensure their premises are safe to occupy. They must conduct a fire safety assessment often, and keep the tenant aware of what they should do in a fire and where the fire exits are. They must also:

  • Ensure front doors, shared corridor doors, and stairwell doors are self-closing fire doors
  • Make sure these doors cannot be wedged open
  • Keep corridors and escape routes clear
  • Inform tenants or workers in the building of the evacuation plan

Who is responsible for the fire damage?

Although your landlord is responsible for keeping your home fire safe, you may be liable for the damage. If the tenant was the sole cause of the fire through negligence, the landlord could charge them for repairs and fire damage cleaning services.

The landlord will not be responsible for replacing any lost or damaged belongings in this case and the tenant may need to continue paying rent.

The tenant might not be responsible if the landlord's negligence resulted in a fire. This could be due to faulty wiring or poor safety regulations.

Damaged property will also be the landlord's responsibility to either pay for cleaning services or replace. The tenant will not be responsible for paying for fire cleaning services.

If nobody is at fault, both should be responsible for replacing and fixing their own property. However, the landlord is still responsible for repairing and cleaning the property.

Can you stay in a fire-damaged property?

Do not stay in a house or flat impacted by fire damage. Even though the fire is extinguished, there are invisible risks present.

When fire burns and spreads, it leaves fine soot particles that contain toxic chemicals. Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide will linger in the home due to the smoke, which can result in long-term damage to your lungs and brain.

Your local council might be able to provide you with emergency housing, as any victim of a house fire is a high priority. Your landlord may have an insurance policy on the property that can help cover the costs, but this is not always the case.

Why you should not try to clean fire damage on your own

If you are responsible for the fire, you could be liable for the cleaning and odour removal services. However, you must not attempt this yourself.

Some areas will be dangerous due to structural damage and the chemicals present in the air. Smoke damage is not a surface issue; it settles deep into surfaces and materials that regular domestic cleaning products cannot remove.

Odour and mould caused by a fire require industrial-grade technology and solutions to remove them. Because of how stubborn the soot and chemicals are, the damage requires a specialist to remove every trace of them.

You could also make the damage worse and exacerbate the soot, putting you at risk of health problems like:

  • Eyes, nose, throat, and skin irritation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Respiratory irritation
  • Nausea

What do you need to do after a fire damages your home?

Instead of cleaning the property yourself, you must contact a company that offers fire restoration services to assess the damage and start the cleaning process. In the meantime, you can take some steps to keep yourself safe:

  • Ensure your electricity, water, and gas is switched off
  • Ventilate the property by opening windows or doors to the outside
  • Dispose of medication at the pharmacy
  • Throw out water and food exposed to fire, heat, or smoke
  • Put a dehumidifier in the affected areas to reduce the risk of mould growth
  • Take pictures, videos, and document evidence of the fire and who is liable
  • Inform your insurance company of the damage

Get in touch

Here at ICE Cleaning, our fire cleaning specialists have years of experience and hold qualifications with IOSH, BICSc, and SafeContractor. We provide rapid-response teams who can arrive on-site within a few hours in an emergency to ensure your home is safe to occupy again.

If you have any questions or want to know more about our cleaning services, you can call our friendly support team at 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk.

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Why choose us?

  • Cater to a wide variety of cleaning situations
  • Nationwide coverage, available 24/7
  • Cater to commercial and domestic clients
  • Free survey provided prior to quotation 
  • Emergency response team
  • Offer a bespoke service designed to suit all your needs 
  • All technicians hold professional health and safety qualifications, including BICSc, IOSH, Dewpoint Professional & Safe Contractor 

We’re fully accredited

We place best practise, professional expertise and health and safety at the core of our business. We’re fully compliant with all legal obligations. You can view a list of our accreditations below, or visit our Health & Safety page for more information.

CSCS
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