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Landlords of rental properties have many important responsibilities, legal and health & safety obligations, furniture regulations being just one of them. If you’re planning on letting a property furnished, then ensure that the furniture you are providing meets with the Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations 1988, and its amendments.

Furniture & Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations 1988, 1993 & 1997

Furniture upholstered before 1988 may contain filling which is capable of filling a room with toxic smoke within seconds. Since 1988 and the Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations Act safer materials have been used, and since 1997 it has been a legal requirement that all upholstered furniture provided in a furnished letting must comply with the 1988 Regulations and 1993 amendments. The acts cover the supply, hire or lending of upholstered furniture in the course of business.

Furniture upholstered before 1988 may contain filling which is capable of filling a room with toxic smoke within seconds. Since 1988 and the Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations Act safer materials have been used, and since 1997 it has been a legal requirement that all upholstered furniture provided in a furnished letting must comply with the 1988 Regulations and 1993 amendments. The acts cover the supply, hire or lending of upholstered furniture in the course of business. The laws apply to the renting or lending of upholstered furniture such as armchairs, sofas, beds, futons, mattresses and divans in the course of business. Landlords who are renting furnished properties should ignore these important regulations at their peril.

All furniture included as part of a furnished rental property is required to carry a permanent manufacturer’s label under the regulations, and upholstered furniture must have fire-resistant stuffing or filling, and have passed match resistance and cigarette tests.

If you are planning on furnishing your property with antiques, then it could be easier, since furniture manufactured before 1950 is excluded from the Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations. Bed clothes, pillowcases, curtains and carpets are also exempt from the regulations, but if you feel that part of a home poses a fire risk, you should dispose of it and provide a safe home for your new tenant.

While renting a property furnished might be seen by some landlords as any easy way to boost rent, it is imperative to remember that landlords are responsible for ensuring that furniture complies with the current safety regulations.

One of the best ways to ensure that furniture complies to current safety regulations is to buy new furniture. Second-hand furniture, while possibly perfectly safe, could be dangerous or lack effective safety instructions on the label. Failure to properly take care of these issues can result in prosecution and subject tenants to a dangerous environment.

Failing in these obligations as a landlord of a buy to let property, could put you in hot water both legally and ethically. Ensuring that furniture provided as part of a furnished rental property meets safety standards expected is essential. Be sure to protect your tenants and uphold your legal obligations as a landlord.

Furniture that landlords ARE liable for

Furniture intended for private use in a dwelling, including children’s furniture

BedsBed accessories, head-boards of beds, mattresses (of any size)

Sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles

• Nursery furniture

Garden furniture which is suitable for use in a dwelling

Furniture in new caravans

Scatter cushions and seat pads

• Pillows

• Loose and stretch covers for Furniture

Furniture that landlords ARE NOT liable for

• Sleeping bags

Bed-clothes (including duvets)

Loose covers for mattresses

• Pillowcases

• Curtains

Carpets

Further reading:

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills provide a useful document on the Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Act on their website.

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