Donate to Remove ads

Got a credit card? use our Credit Card & Finance Calculators

Thanks to GrahamPlatt,Walkeia,genou,Anonymous,Fluke, for Donating to support the site

Furniture Fire Regulations

Covering Market, Trends, and Practical (but see LEMON-AID for Building & DIY)
redsturgeon
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 4616
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 9:06 am
Has thanked: 430 times
Been thanked: 798 times

Furniture Fire Regulations

#257667

Postby redsturgeon » October 14th, 2019, 8:15 am

I wonder if any landlords here can give my their take on the Furniture Fire Regulations and whether they actually matter?

My daughter has just rented a flat and when she was given the inventory to sign she read that none of the soft furnishings had any fire labels as required by law. Reading these regulations it seems there is up to a £5000 fine for each item for this offence and either the landlord or the letting agent is responsible.

She raised this with the agent (she has no direct contact with the landlord) and received a very curt and dismissive reply. The letting agency response was that they had raised the matter with the landlord who responded that as the items are less than five years old that they are all compliant.

According to the regulations this seems not to make the items compliant, unless they have a label then the law is being broken.

Any thoughts on how my daughter should respond? She does not want to make a fuss or fall out with the landlord, just wants to feel safe in her first rental property.

John

modellingman
2 Lemon pips
Posts: 238
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 3:46 pm
Has thanked: 40 times
Been thanked: 106 times

Re: Furniture Fire Regulations

#257895

Postby modellingman » October 14th, 2019, 10:07 pm

redsturgeon wrote:My daughter has just rented a flat and when she was given the inventory to sign she read that none of the soft furnishings had any fire labels as required by law.


Seems a little curious. Was it the case, as you appear to state, that the inventory stated that none of the soft furnishings had any fire labels and it also stated that these were required by law?

The Furniture Industry Research Association has produced a guide (pdf) to the UK regulations for Fire Safety of Furniture and Furnishings in the Home.

Section 6 covers labelling requirements. There are two sorts of labels "display" and "permanent".

Display labels are sometimes referred to as swing labels.

Display labelling is required to indicate the ignition resistance of each item of furniture and needs to be attached to all new furniture at the point of sale, with the exception of mattresses, bed-bases, pillows, scatter cushions, seat pads, loose covers (sold separately from the furniture) and stretch covers.

In all cases the display label must be attached to the furniture in a prominent position so that the label will be clearly visible to a potential purchaser of the furniture and the wording on both sides can be read with reasonable ease.

The display label should be provided by the furniture manufacturer, or importer, and the retailer needs to ensure it is fitted on display models and, if for some reason it becomes detached, it is replaced by the correct label.


Broadly display labels are required when products covered by the regulations are retailed as new products in the UK. Permanent labels serve a different purpose.

Permanent labelling on furniture is intended to assist enforcement officers and show compliance with the specific ignition requirements for covers and fillings. The prime objective of the permanent label is for enforcement officers to examine a label on a piece of furniture and obtain relevant information which will enable them to find out and confirm that the materials used in the item do comply with the Regulations. They will also be able to complete a cross check of the claims being made on the label with the manufacturer’s records.

Permanent labels need to be carried on all items of furniture with the exception of mattresses divans and bedbases. The labelling specifications for mattresses, divans and bed-bases are covered separately by BS 7177. Permanent labels may be incorporated into other labels (e.g. care labels)

The responsibility of ensuring that the finished product carries the permanent label is that of the first supplier of the furniture in the UK.

The label must be durable and securely attached to the furniture (i.e. cannot be removed without causing damage to the label or the product and must be able to withstand the normal wear and tear of everyday use and misuse). The durability period for permanent labels is not defined in the Regulations. However bearing in mind that any records need to be kept for 5 years and the purpose of the permanent labelling is to link through to those records, a similar period would seem logical. The permanent label has to be securely attached to the external surface of the item. Attachment of the permanent label to the underside of the item is also permissible


Section 3 of FIRA's document sets out the meaning of "first supplier". It is either a UK manufacturer, an importer or the retailer. Local authority Trading Standards Officers are the "enforcement officers".

redsturgeon wrote:I wonder if any landlords here can give my their take on the Furniture Fire Regulations and whether they actually matter?


As a landlord I take my responsibilities seriously. I would no more supply furniture and furnishings that didn't comply with the regulations than I would fail to ensure annual gas safety checks were undertaken. So yes, they do matter.

redsturgeon wrote:According to the regulations this seems not to make the items compliant, unless they have a label then the law is being broken.


I disagree that the absence of labelling indicates non-compliance. I have previously responded to you on this matter and in that reply I noted the National Landlords Assocation advice that

All new domestic upholstered furniture (except mattresses and bed bases) and loose and stretch covers are required to carry a permanent label providing information about their fire retarding properties. Such a label will indicate compliance, although lack of one would not necessarily imply non-compliance as the label might have been removed.

My understanding of the regulations is that the legal requirement for labelling is that it must be present when an item is retailed as a new item. There is a separate requirement that items must comply with the fire resistance requirements of the regulations and this separate requirement also applies to anyone who supplies items covered by the regulations as part of a business. This includes landlords, charity shops and auctioneers - see Section 10 of the FIRA document which also identifies that any furniture purchased in the UK since March 1990 will be compliant.

redsturgeon wrote:Any thoughts on how my daughter should respond? She does not want to make a fuss or fall out with the landlord, just wants to feel safe in her first rental property.


Whilst I can understand the concerns about safety, unless the furniture is 30 years old or some dodgy Chinese import, it will almost certainly be compliant with the fire safety regulations despite the absence of a visible label. The main risks from fire though are introducing sources of ignition - matches, lit cigarettes and candles probably being the most common sources. Other sensible precautions you could recommend are: testing smoke alarms monthly (there should, by law, be at least one on each inhabited floor), keeping a spare battery in stock for battery alarms and knowing how to replace it, not running a tumble dryer when not in the flat or when asleep and emptying fluff filters after every use. More here (pdf).

redsturgeon
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 4616
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 9:06 am
Has thanked: 430 times
Been thanked: 798 times

Re: Furniture Fire Regulations

#257936

Postby redsturgeon » October 15th, 2019, 6:55 am

modellingman wrote:
redsturgeon wrote:My daughter has just rented a flat and when she was given the inventory to sign she read that none of the soft furnishings had any fire labels as required by law.


Seems a little curious. Was it the case, as you appear to state, that the inventory stated that none of the soft furnishings had any fire labels and it also stated that these were required by law?

The Furniture Industry Research Association has produced a guide (pdf) to the UK regulations for Fire Safety of Furniture and Furnishings in the Home.

Section 6 covers labelling requirements. There are two sorts of labels "display" and "permanent".

Display labels are sometimes referred to as swing labels.

Display labelling is required to indicate the ignition resistance of each item of furniture and needs to be attached to all new furniture at the point of sale, with the exception of mattresses, bed-bases, pillows, scatter cushions, seat pads, loose covers (sold separately from the furniture) and stretch covers.

In all cases the display label must be attached to the furniture in a prominent position so that the label will be clearly visible to a potential purchaser of the furniture and the wording on both sides can be read with reasonable ease.

The display label should be provided by the furniture manufacturer, or importer, and the retailer needs to ensure it is fitted on display models and, if for some reason it becomes detached, it is replaced by the correct label.


Broadly display labels are required when products covered by the regulations are retailed as new products in the UK. Permanent labels serve a different purpose.

Permanent labelling on furniture is intended to assist enforcement officers and show compliance with the specific ignition requirements for covers and fillings. The prime objective of the permanent label is for enforcement officers to examine a label on a piece of furniture and obtain relevant information which will enable them to find out and confirm that the materials used in the item do comply with the Regulations. They will also be able to complete a cross check of the claims being made on the label with the manufacturer’s records.

Permanent labels need to be carried on all items of furniture with the exception of mattresses divans and bedbases. The labelling specifications for mattresses, divans and bed-bases are covered separately by BS 7177. Permanent labels may be incorporated into other labels (e.g. care labels)

The responsibility of ensuring that the finished product carries the permanent label is that of the first supplier of the furniture in the UK.

The label must be durable and securely attached to the furniture (i.e. cannot be removed without causing damage to the label or the product and must be able to withstand the normal wear and tear of everyday use and misuse). The durability period for permanent labels is not defined in the Regulations. However bearing in mind that any records need to be kept for 5 years and the purpose of the permanent labelling is to link through to those records, a similar period would seem logical. The permanent label has to be securely attached to the external surface of the item. Attachment of the permanent label to the underside of the item is also permissible


Section 3 of FIRA's document sets out the meaning of "first supplier". It is either a UK manufacturer, an importer or the retailer. Local authority Trading Standards Officers are the "enforcement officers".

redsturgeon wrote:I wonder if any landlords here can give my their take on the Furniture Fire Regulations and whether they actually matter?


As a landlord I take my responsibilities seriously. I would no more supply furniture and furnishings that didn't comply with the regulations than I would fail to ensure annual gas safety checks were undertaken. So yes, they do matter.

redsturgeon wrote:According to the regulations this seems not to make the items compliant, unless they have a label then the law is being broken.


I disagree that the absence of labelling indicates non-compliance. I have previously responded to you on this matter and in that reply I noted the National Landlords Assocation advice that

All new domestic upholstered furniture (except mattresses and bed bases) and loose and stretch covers are required to carry a permanent label providing information about their fire retarding properties. Such a label will indicate compliance, although lack of one would not necessarily imply non-compliance as the label might have been removed.

My understanding of the regulations is that the legal requirement for labelling is that it must be present when an item is retailed as a new item. There is a separate requirement that items must comply with the fire resistance requirements of the regulations and this separate requirement also applies to anyone who supplies items covered by the regulations as part of a business. This includes landlords, charity shops and auctioneers - see Section 10 of the FIRA document which also identifies that any furniture purchased in the UK since March 1990 will be compliant.

redsturgeon wrote:Any thoughts on how my daughter should respond? She does not want to make a fuss or fall out with the landlord, just wants to feel safe in her first rental property.


Whilst I can understand the concerns about safety, unless the furniture is 30 years old or some dodgy Chinese import, it will almost certainly be compliant with the fire safety regulations despite the absence of a visible label. The main risks from fire though are introducing sources of ignition - matches, lit cigarettes and candles probably being the most common sources. Other sensible precautions you could recommend are: testing smoke alarms monthly (there should, by law, be at least one on each inhabited floor), keeping a spare battery in stock for battery alarms and knowing how to replace it, not running a tumble dryer when not in the flat or when asleep and emptying fluff filters after every use. More here (pdf).



Hi mm,

Thanks for your detailed response, this was just the perspective I was looking for

To clear up your first question, the inventory does not state the position in law but merely points out the lack of FFR labels.

On your second point, yes the items may be complaint in terms of construction and materials but the way the law is written it seems to me that they need to have a label attached to meet the letter of the law.

As an analogy, I have residents parking outside my house for which pay £20 pa. In order to demonstrate that I have paid, I need to display my permit in the car, If the permit is not displayed then I am in breach. It is no good me saying "but I have paid the fee". Is this not the same thing, it is no good the landlord stating that the goods are compliant if the law states that the label must be present.

Your point about the smoke alarms and boiler checks is also well made and when I visit my daughter today I will double check these items, I guess there should be a carbon monoxide alarm too.

Do you have any thoughts regarding items left in the flat which she had assumed would be removed (tins of paint etc). Is it really OK for the landlord to treat the space which he is renting out as his own personal storage area?

Many thanks

John

dspp
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 4009
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 10:53 am
Has thanked: 3154 times
Been thanked: 934 times

Re: Furniture Fire Regulations

#257962

Postby dspp » October 15th, 2019, 9:11 am

redsturgeon wrote:I guess there should be a carbon monoxide alarm too.

Do you have any thoughts regarding items left in the flat which she had assumed would be removed (tins of paint etc). Is it really OK for the landlord to treat the space which he is renting out as his own personal storage area?

Many thanks

John


1. Carbon monoxide alarms are only a requirement to be fitted in a room that is used partly or wholly as living accommodation and contains an appliance that burns solid fuel.

2. Assumptions are not a good idea. A small amount of landlords' paint would be reasonable in my opinion, if it were paint that is specific to that property. That's my POV.

3. In all walks of life some clients are a nightmare, and one is better off without them. If I was the landlord and saw your lists regarding your daughter's tenancy my heart would be sinking. But I don't know your daughter's interaction with the landlord or for that matter yours. There are always at least two sides to these situations.

regards, dspp

redsturgeon
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 4616
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 9:06 am
Has thanked: 430 times
Been thanked: 798 times

Re: Furniture Fire Regulations

#257996

Postby redsturgeon » October 15th, 2019, 10:44 am

dspp wrote:
redsturgeon wrote:I guess there should be a carbon monoxide alarm too.

Do you have any thoughts regarding items left in the flat which she had assumed would be removed (tins of paint etc). Is it really OK for the landlord to treat the space which he is renting out as his own personal storage area?

Many thanks

John


1. Carbon monoxide alarms are only a requirement to be fitted in a room that is used partly or wholly as living accommodation and contains an appliance that burns solid fuel.

2. Assumptions are not a good idea. A small amount of landlords' paint would be reasonable in my opinion, if it were paint that is specific to that property. That's my POV.

3. In all walks of life some clients are a nightmare, and one is better off without them. If I was the landlord and saw your lists regarding your daughter's tenancy my heart would be sinking. But I don't know your daughter's interaction with the landlord or for that matter yours. There are always at least two sides to these situations.

regards, dspp


The unfortunate thing is that she is not able to interact with the landlord everything must go through the agent. My daughter's wish is not to have to have any dealings with either, just pay her rent and get a flat where things work properly. Maybe we have spoiled her.

She has now been in the flat for six weeks and none of the defects that have been identified have been corrected, including radiators that do not work, broken toilets and broken furniture. She is paying £1400 per month for this flat...do you think she is being unreasonable to want what she is paying for?

I hate to think what will happen if her boiler develops a fault during the winter...six weeks seems excessive.

FWIW I believe much of the issue lies with the letting agent rather than the landlord but I know if I was letting out a property that I would make sure everything was right before the tenant moved in.

John

dspp
Lemon Quarter
Posts: 4009
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 10:53 am
Has thanked: 3154 times
Been thanked: 934 times

Re: Furniture Fire Regulations

#258016

Postby dspp » October 15th, 2019, 12:00 pm

redsturgeon wrote:
dspp wrote:
redsturgeon wrote:I guess there should be a carbon monoxide alarm too.

Do you have any thoughts regarding items left in the flat which she had assumed would be removed (tins of paint etc). Is it really OK for the landlord to treat the space which he is renting out as his own personal storage area?

Many thanks

John


1. Carbon monoxide alarms are only a requirement to be fitted in a room that is used partly or wholly as living accommodation and contains an appliance that burns solid fuel.

2. Assumptions are not a good idea. A small amount of landlords' paint would be reasonable in my opinion, if it were paint that is specific to that property. That's my POV.

3. In all walks of life some clients are a nightmare, and one is better off without them. If I was the landlord and saw your lists regarding your daughter's tenancy my heart would be sinking. But I don't know your daughter's interaction with the landlord or for that matter yours. There are always at least two sides to these situations.

regards, dspp


The unfortunate thing is that she is not able to interact with the landlord everything must go through the agent. My daughter's wish is not to have to have any dealings with either, just pay her rent and get a flat where things work properly. Maybe we have spoiled her.

She has now been in the flat for six weeks and none of the defects that have been identified have been corrected, including radiators that do not work, broken toilets and broken furniture. She is paying £1400 per month for this flat...do you think she is being unreasonable to want what she is paying for?

I hate to think what will happen if her boiler develops a fault during the winter...six weeks seems excessive.

FWIW I believe much of the issue lies with the letting agent rather than the landlord but I know if I was letting out a property that I would make sure everything was right before the tenant moved in.

John



I've no idea whether you have spoiled her.

£1400pcm is high is some places, low in others.

Six weeks to address major issues is excessive. Six weeks to address minor issues is inconsequential. I do not know which category these are. I also do not know who is the cause of the six weeks - the agent, the owner, both, or circumstances.

Not having fire display labelling on furniture is trivial imho. That is not a tree up which I would be barking, nor CO monitors if it doesn't have a fire/stove. I would concentrate only on the things that really matter.

regards, dspp

modellingman
2 Lemon pips
Posts: 238
Joined: November 4th, 2016, 3:46 pm
Has thanked: 40 times
Been thanked: 106 times

Re: Furniture Fire Regulations

#258148

Postby modellingman » October 15th, 2019, 11:52 pm

redsturgeon wrote:To clear up your first question, the inventory does not state the position in law but merely points out the lack of FFR labels.


I think that is quite positive. In a sense it acknowledges the importance of compliance with the regulations - otherwise why make mention of the absence of labels in the inventory? No one can know for certain unless an enquiry is made, but my strong suspicion is that they were removed by a previous tenant. (Occasionally, tenants do some very weird and unexpected things.)

redsturgeon wrote: On your second point, yes the items may be complaint in terms of construction and materials but the way the law is written it seems to me that they need to have a label attached to meet the letter of the law.


We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I take my guidance from the NLA's advice, which I have now quoted twice, that labels must legally be present when items are retailed and that the absence of a label in a rented property does not necessarily indicate non-compliance with the physical regulations. If you want a definitive view though, I suggest you contact the local Trading Standards team.

Surely, though, your real concern should be whether or not the furniture is in line with the regulations in terms of its actual construction, materials, etc. Picking an argument about the presence or absence of the label whether with me, the agent or whoever else is, IMHO, is a distraction from taking a view on whether or not the furniture is actually safe to live with.

redsturgeon wrote:Do you have any thoughts regarding items left in the flat which she had assumed would be removed (tins of paint etc). Is it really OK for the landlord to treat the space which he is renting out as his own personal storage area?


Personally I wouldn't do this, but other landlords may take a different view. A lot depends on the size of the flat, the amount of storage space, the amount of space being used by the landlord, etc, etc. In the area where I live and let property (Durham City) , a single person flat for £1400 pcm would be at the very luxury end of the market - in fact it would be quite a bit beyond the very luxury end, in spite of the Chinese students and their nouveau riche parents. At this end of the market, only a stupid landlord would detract from the tenant's space by filling even a small area with old pots of paint.

In the previous discussion on the legal issues board, you indicated that stuff such as the paint was included on the inventory. Unfortunately, the inventory stage is a bit late for discussions about getting rid of stuff like this. That discussion should really take place prior to signing the tenancy agreement. You can ask about getting rid of the paint and whatever else, though I suspect the agent isn't going to put themselves out to assist. Alternatively, you can just get rid of it unilaterally, though at the risk of getting into a deposit dispute at the end of the tenancy, when potentially missing items on the inventory will show up. You probably need to take a view based on how well the items are documented and how much you think they are worth.

A don't get mad get even approach might involve opening the paint tins to allow it to dry out and then putting the lids back on before inspections and final moving out.

redsturgeon wrote: She has now been in the flat for six weeks and none of the defects that have been identified have been corrected, including radiators that do not work, broken toilets and broken furniture. She is paying £1400 per month for this flat...do you think she is being unreasonable to want what she is paying for?


No, it's not unreasonable. Some of the items you mention, heating system and sanitary arrangements are most definitely the responsibility of the landlord to fix and within a reasonable timescale. It may well be the case that the agent's first line of response is simply to do nothing. Unfortunately, it is a profession (and I use the word loosely) that attracts more than its share of bone idle get-rich-quick merchants. Research the Landlord and Tenant Act and then write an appropriately stroppy letter to the agents indicating that unless faults are rectified your daughter will engage tradesmen to remedy the deficiencies and will deduct the costs of doing so from her rent payments. Research also retaliatory eviction, to ensure that you cut-off the landlord's ability to apply for eviction under Section 21 as a result of your daughter complaining about the condition of the flat's equipment.


Return to “Property Investment Discussions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests