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Tips, Tools & Templates for Writing a Holiday Cottage Fire Risk Assessment

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As a holiday cottage owner, it’s your responsibility to recognise and reduce potential fire risks at your accommodation and to ensure that it’s safe for guests to stay.

If you’re new to holiday letting and haven’t already completed a fire risk assessment it can be difficult to know where to start. For this reason, we have created this useful guide to help you to identify potential risks and the measures you need to put in place to keep people safe.

Is a holiday cottage fire risk assessment a legal requirement?

It is a legal requirement to comply with fire safety law – Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005. The law requires you to undertake a fire risk assessment to identify potential fire risks, act on the findings and ensure that fire precautions are adequate to protect guests.

Failure to act may lead to prosecution

Breaches of fire safety law may lead to enforcement action, prosecution, fines or imprisonment.

Airbnb landlord fined £33,000 for serious fire safety failures
An Airbnb landlord has been ordered to pay almost £33,000 in fines and costs after he put dozens of guests at risk from fire in a luxury holiday let.

Holiday let owner fined for breaching fire laws
Following a complaint from a guest staying at the property, the holiday let owner was fined nearly £4,000 for four offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

How to write a fire risk assessment for your holiday cottage

A fire risk assessment is a comprehensive review of:

  • Fire hazards within your holiday home
  • The people at risk
  • The fire safety measures you need to put in place to keep guests safe

Identify fire hazards in your holiday let

Identify situations in your holiday home in which a fire could start. The most common causes of fires include kitchens (cooking), electrical appliances (overloaded or faulty appliances), candles (left unattended or knocked over) and open fires/log burners (misuse).

Who’s at risk?

Consider the specific risks different guests face. For example, young children could knock over a candle or be tempted to touch a log burner/open fire. Guests with disabilities such as restricted mobility, visual or hearing impairment.

How will you keep guests safe?

What actions can you implement to prevent a fire and keep guests safe if there is a fire?

For example:

  • remove hazards if possible or take actions to reduce the risk
  • Interlinked mains smoke alarms
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Emergency lighting to highlight clearly defined emergency escape routes and exits
  • Fire blanket and appropriate fire extinguishers on each floor
  • Escape route doors that can be opened without a key
  • Internal self-closing fire doors
  • Remove window lock keys
  • Remove candles
  • Maintain chimneys and wood burners
  • Furniture and furnishings that meets British standards

Inform guests about fire risks

Your completed fire risk assessment should be placed in a prominent place in the property for guests to read, ideally in the guestbook. It is there to help prevent fires during their stay and ensure that they are clear about what to do if they discover a fire or hear the alarm.

Leave detailed instructions about:

  • The emergency fire evacuation plan to ensure everyone leaves the property quickly and safely
  • Where the fire blankets and fire extinguishers are
  • The fire risks in the property and user instructions (e.g., appliances, smoking policy, log burner/barbecue safety, no candles)
  • Carbon monoxide advice
  • Where the exit points are

Maintaining your fire risk assessment

You should keep evidence of all testing, maintenance and any actions you have put in place to minimise the risk. These should be communicated to anyone who is involved in running your holiday let e.g., your housekeeper or property manager.

Review your risk assessment at least annually or if there has been a significant change, such as changing the layout of the property or if a potential risk (e.g, a firepit) has been added.

Ensure that all fire safety provisions are adequately maintained

Make sure all fire safety provisions are adequate and regularly maintained. This includes fire alarms, gas appliances, electrical appliances and any emergency lighting systems.

Tasks to do every changeover

During changeover, safety tests and inspections should take place to ensure that a fire hazard hasn’t occurred developed during the let.

  • Test smoke alarms are working
  • Check fire extinguisher pressure dials are correct
  • Inspect wires on all appliances for damage and remove the appliance if damaged
  • Remove matches, lighters etc. from the property (unless they are required for the log burner) or safely store them away from children
  • Test carbon monoxide monitors

Fire risk assessment template and tools for holiday home owners

Every cottage will have its unique risks, but these examples and guides should help with your fire risk assessment.

Fire risk assessment templates:

VisitBritain – Fire Risk Assessment Tool
Government’s guide on complying with fire safety law: ‘Do you have paying guests?’ (see example risk assessment form page 10).

Useful guides:
Useful guidance for accommodation providers outlining their obligations and considerations with regards to Fire Safety.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service ‘Fire Safety Guidance for Self-Catering Holiday Lets’
Five steps to fire risk assessment
The Government’s fire safety website
Fire safety risk assessment: sleeping accommodation
Wales fire service advice for self-catering holiday accommodation

Get in touch with the Fire and Rescue Service in your area

Did you know many fire and rescue services in the UK offer a free visit to identify the potential risks of fire in your holiday property.

Here is a list of regional UK Fire and Rescue Services to contact. 

How to find a fire risk assessor

The fire risk assessment should be is carried out by someone who understands fire safety to ensure the fire risk assessment is suitable and sufficient. If you do not feel confident undertaking the fire risk assessment yourself, you can appoint someone with third-party accreditation to do it for you.

How to find a competent fire risk assessor.

Get insured

From experience, we know fire can have a devastating impact. A policy from Schofields is there to help you when you need it. Providing cover for damage, loss of rental income and alternative accommodation. Get a quote or contact us to discuss or comprehensive cover.

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