Property: What Homeowners Need to Know About Fireplace Safety

Posted:
12:30 p.m. 23 December 2021



Each year, as Christmas approaches, those whose house includes a real fire and a fireplace start to be more and more delighted: their house has a traditional access point for Santa on Christmas Eve, and their downstairs will fill with gifts in the morning.

Of course, letting a bearded man with a red coat walk into your home isn’t the main reason fireplaces exist. Even in these days of efficient boilers and heat pumps, the allure of a real flame endures. And it’s not just among homeowners that this is true – an open fire or wood stove remains an attractive feature when it comes to rented homes, too.


We all look forward to enjoying some hygge over the holiday season – but landlords renting properties with fires or flames should be aware of their responsibilities.
– Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto

Of course, any open flame inside a house requires a good consideration of safety, so maybe the weather is getting cold and we all can’t wait to enjoy some hygge during the period. holiday season, now is a good time to explain the different responsibilities when a rented house has an open fire or a wood stove.

First of all, the fireplace. A chimney fire, when accumulations of tar inside the chimney ignites, is a messy and destructive endeavor, and poses the greatest risk with a real fire. The key is to make sure the chimney is regularly swept.

The responsibility lies with the landlord before the start of the tenancy (ideally just before), but after that it’s up to the tenant.

Thus, a certificate attesting that the work has been carried out by a person registered with a regulated body such as HETAS or the National Association of Chimney Sweepers (NACS) must be given to tenants at the start of the rental, and the owner can expect the same. back at regular intervals.


Part of the roof is also visible with some tiles from the period house.

Failure to have the chimney swept on a regular basis can invalidate the owner’s building insurance in the event of a fire – so it is essential that homeowners verify that this important work is being done.
– Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto

Failure to have the chimney swept on a regular basis can invalidate the owner’s building insurance in the event of a fire – so it is essential that homeowners verify that this important work is being done.

Landlords can write restrictions on how any open fire or wood stove is used in the rental agreement. This can include the type of fuel that can be used, for example.

The responsibility for ensuring that such a device is safe in the first place rests with the owner. A wood stove must therefore be maintained regularly. It is a good idea to make sure that there is an operating thermometer on a woodstove to make sure the tenant is using it at the correct temperature, a carbon monoxide detector is essential, and the homeowner should provide things like a fire stop, good sized fireplace and so on.

Provided all of that is done, an open fire or wood stove is an attractive feature for potential tenants. An efficient wood stove can provide a lot of heat, and there is also the visual and psychological comfort of watching real flames.

Don’t forget to put out the fire on Christmas Eve and set aside a glass of sherry and some pies for Santa – and, of course, a carrot for Rudolph. Merry Christmas!

Catherine Hunt is Rental Property Manager at Arnolds Keys, www.arnoldskeys.com

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