Important fire safety reminder for contract-holders

We were recently made aware of a fire in a Cathays property caused by a candle. Nobody was hurt, but the fire caused significant damage to the landlord's property and the contract-holder's belongings, as you can see below.

Elsewhere in Wales, the news reported there were 3 house fires in a week caused by tumble dryers. At least one of them was caused by the lint catching fire, which goes to demonstrate that the filters regularly need cleaning out.

Your safety is our priority, so we'd like to remind you of some key fire safety points in your Occupation Contract that are there to help protect both you and the landlord. Please remember, your contract states you are required to "take proper care of the dwelling, fixtures and fittings within the dwelling and any items listed in the inventory or provided by the landlord. You are responsible for any and all damages (however it arises), negligence and/or lack of care, except where caused by fair wear and tear, acts of God or a representative of the landlord."

Here's a further breakdown of some key clauses in your contract with regards to fire safety and why they're important:

Prohibited items

"Do not conduct activities that increase the risk of fire, which are strictly prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of candles, deep fat fryers, and smoking. You must not smoke or permit any guest or visitor to smoke tobacco or any other substance in the property, unless the landlord has provided written consent."

Any form of open flame will significantly increase the risk of a fire. Even when not causing a fire, candles and cigarettes can release soot and smoke that stain walls, ceilings and curtains. This can be expensive to clean or repair and ultimately reduce the value of the property. 

Deep fat fryers involve large quantities of hot oil, which can easily overheat and ignite nearby combustible materials. Spills or splatters can also catch fire, especially if the fryer isn't properly maintained.

Cleaning filters

"You must empty and fully clean appliance filters regularly."

Clogged filters in appliances like dryers and cooker hoods can restrict airflow and pose a fire hazard. Make sure your oven and hob are cleaned regularly to avoid grease and oil building up. Lint build-up can easily ignite and cause a fire, so be sure to clean the lint filter in your dryer after every use.

Bicycle storage

"Do not store bicycles within the dwelling or any communal passageway. Obstructions to fire exits, including by bicycles, will immediately be removed by the landlord and may left outside the dwelling at your own risk." 

Bicycles blocking exits can be a major fire hazard in an emergency. A quick escape is crucial and clear passageways ensure everyone can get out safely.

Damaged and misused items

"Ensure that any items you bring into the property are safe to use. Should an item that you bring into the dwelling cause damage, or an item provided by the landlord is used incorrectly or negligently resulting in damage, you will be liable for the full cost of making good the damage."

It's important to bring in items that are in good working order and won't malfunction or cause damage. Check your electrical cables for any damage, wear and tear and the plug is secured to the cable. If a wire is frayed, damaged in any way or isn’t connected to the plug securely, do not use it. After using your hairdryer or straighteners, place them in a safe place while they’re still hot and remember to switch them off.

This clause also covers landlord-provided items you misuse. Things to be aware of in this respect include making sure to turn off electrical items that you will not be using overnight and not overloading electrical sockets and adaptors. Be careful in the kitchen, keeping an eye on your food whilst cooking and keeping cloths and tea towels away from the hob. Be sure not to cover the microwave, as this could cause them to overheat and cause a fire, and never put foil in it.

Alarm testing

"You must test all smoke and heat alarms on a weekly basis and carbon monoxide alarms on a monthly basis. You must replace batteries in smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms, as well as ovens of certain types, when needed."

Regularly testing alarms ensures they're functional and will alert you promptly in case of danger, giving you valuable time to escape. Never cover up smoke alarms or take out the batteries and make sure that you and your housemates are aware of fire escape routes in case of an emergency.

Firefighting equipment

"You must not tamper with, move or adjust any firefighting equipment within the dwelling, unless for its intended use. Should you identify any irregularities or concerns with any firefighting equipment, you must report it to the landlord immediately."

We'd also encourage you to make sure that you and your housemates are aware of fire escape routes in case of an emergency. Always remember to keep fire doors free from obstruction (don't hang things on them and do not prop them open).

Are you a landlord with a property in Cardiff? We pride ourselves on offering the most robust contract you can find from a local agent. If you aren't currently a managed client of ours and you'd like to learn more how our contract can benefit you, please get in touch with our compliance team with an email to

21 March 2024


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