You may have noticed on your Inventory Report the term “Fire Safety Label present”. What does this mean and why is it so important?
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988/1989, 1993 and 2010 apply to any rental property which includes furniture and soft furnishings.
The regulations are designed to ensure that upholstery components and composites used for furniture supplied in the UK meet specified ignition resistance levels and are suitably labelled.
What kinds of furniture is covered?
· Any type of upholstered furniture, including chairs, settees and sofas, ottomans and padded stools. Sofa beds, futons and convertible beds are also included. Bean bags and floors cushions also come under this area.
· Garden and outdoor furniture is included, especially if it can be used indoors. So if you have padded cane furniture in your conservatory, or an outdoor seating area with padded cushions, these items would be included.
· In the bedroom, the regulations apply to divans, bed bases, mattresses, pillows and mattress toppers.
· In your furnished property, if you have provided scatter cushions, or perhaps padded seat pads for wooden chairs, then these items would be included.
How can I be sure my furnishing meet the regulations?
In order to ensure the furniture you are providing in your furnished let complies with the regulations, you should check each item has a “fire safety label” attached.
Each item of furniture or furnishing will have a label attached, stating compliance with the regulations. All new furniture must carry a display label at the point of sale. If your furniture has no permanent label or a permanent label which does not state compliance, then it should be assumed not to comply.
Look for statements that advise that the following:
· Foams and fillings pass the test
· Upholstery (covers and fillings) are cigarette resistant
· Covers are match resistant
However, not all articles require all the above information to be given. For example, loose covers, pillows, cushions and seat pads will have a label with a caution, the name and postal code of the first UK supplier and a description of filling or covering materials.
The regulations also do not apply to bedclothes and duvets, mattress protector covers, pillow cases, curtains, carpets or any furniture made before 1950.
Mattresses and bed bases should have a label showing that they meet BS 7177.
It is worth remembering that supplying furniture and furnishings in your rental which do not comply with the regulations, constitutes an offence under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. This carries a maximum penalty on conviction of a £5,000 fine and/or six months imprisonment.
Therefore, this is why the Inventory Company lists whether the fire label has been viewed! If your clerk is unable to locate a fire safety label, we suggest that a follow up visit is completed by the landlord. If the landlord is also unable to locate the label, the item of furniture should be removed from the property and replaced with an item which does meet the regulations.
For further information on fire safety labels in rental properties, please do have a look at the following links: