There’s a maze of regulations to deal with when you’re a landlord and hefty penalties if you fail to comply. But while most landlords are aware of gas and electrical safety regulations, some don’t realise there are also regulations concerning furniture – Furniture and Furnishing Fire Safety Regulations (FFL).
Since 1997 all upholstered furnishings must be fire resistant and have permanent labels attached. This covers everything from beds, headboards, sofa-beds, futons and mattresses to children’s furniture, cushions, seat pads and pillows. This isn’t usually a problem these days as most modern furniture is already labelled but if the label comes loose, you must reattach it.
Your inventory should list every piece of furniture that comes under the FFL regulations. It’s also a good idea to keep hold of the manufacturer’s receipt, just in case the label gets lost or detached.
In general, all furnishings must comply with the regulations although there are a few exceptions. Antique furniture or furniture made before 1950 is exempt, as is bed linen, as well as sleeping bags, carpets and curtains.
There’s no room for complacency as the penalties for failing to comply with regulations are severe. You could be fined up to £5,000 for each item that doesn’t comply. You could also face up to six months in prison and even manslaughter charges if someone dies. Your tenants could also sue you for damages and you will almost certainly invalidate your insurance.
You may have come across these before as they’re very popular amongst landlords looking for a really professional finish for their rental property. In a nutshell, they contain all the furnishings, accessories and appliances you’ll need to furnish a rental property – all in a simple pack that often the furnishing company will assemble for you too. They’ll save you time, they’re usually competitively priced and of course, you can be certain they’ll comply with the latest regulations.
We work with one of these companies, In:Style Direct, and find our landlords are very happy to have this aspect of owning a rental property taken care of for them.
But however you decide to furnish your property, make sure you comply with all regulations – you really can’t afford not to.
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