Safe to rent house with open fire?

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  • Safe to rent house with open fire?

    Hi

    I have a terraced house which I plan to rent out. It has two open traditional victorian fires which can be used to burn wood and coal.

    I mainly use the fire in the sitting room and rarely use the one in the dining room. Both have been cleaned regularly.

    1. I would like to know whether I should risk renting the property so the fires may be used. I am concerned that both stone hearths are not that deep (what regulations do hearths need to meet ?)

    2. If I provided a good fire guard and had good insurance am I covering myself?

    3. How could I temporarily block inside so they remain a decorative feature? Worried the potential tenant could just unblock and light fire. (I had them opened up so I could use them)

    4. Is it worth putting "no open fires in contract" ?

    I would be extremely grateful for your thoughts or any advice.

    Many thanks

    Sparky

  • #2
    Is there any alternative heating? If not, then perhaps letting the place might not be the best idea, but if there is, then whyever not rent it out?

    The tenants don't HAVE to use the open fire, but they should be reminded that if they cause any damage to the property through the use of the fire then then will be held liable, and that if they do use the fires then they must ensure that the chimneys are swept regularly, and at the end of the tenancy.

    By providing fireguards, having the chimneys swept before the tenancy starts and ensuring your insurance is adequate, you will (IMHO) have covered yourself adequately, but you could always contact your insurers just to make certain. I don't see how you could enforce a "no open fires" contract, and blocking the chimneys up to try to prevent them could cause much more damage if the tenants choose to ignore the fact that the chimneys are blocked and just lit the fire anyhow.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Sparklingsea View Post
      1. I would like to know whether I should risk renting the property so the fires may be used. I am concerned that both stone hearths are not that deep (what regulations do hearths need to meet ?)
      Not sure if there are any regulations, but I don't see any problem. There are risks in every property; as long as the property is insured against fire, you're covered.

      2. If I provided a good fire guard and had good insurance am I covering myself?
      Yes, but I would question whether you need to provide a guard. It's up to the tenants to use the property safely.

      3. How could I temporarily block inside so they remain a decorative feature? Worried the potential tenant could just unblock and light fire. (I had them opened up so I could use them)
      I wouldn't bother. Some people like open fires (I do) so it would make the property more attractive to leave them open.

      4. Is it worth putting "no open fires in contract" ?
      You could do, but if T has one anyway and burns the house down I'm not sure how successful you would be at reclaiming the cost from T.

      Peter

      Comment


      • #4
        make sure it has smoke detectors, the chimney is cleaned at start of tenancy and the contract states that the chimney must be clean at certain dates and proof provided also at the end of the tenancy. Contract to state that fire guard used at all times fire is lit (dont know if it is inforceable but put it in)

        Comment


        • #5
          I've rented a couple of properties over the last 10-years with open fires in addition to storage heaters (economy 7).

          When I came across them I went for the property essentially but it swung it for me having the option of an open fire.

          Didn't use it very often - because of the hassle of getting kindling and logs etc and because I'm a bit environmentally conscious about burning coal albeit low smog coal - and I needed a car to get these things.

          I did love it though on the few occasions that I did bother with the open fire.

          Howeverer, it didn't cross my mind there was an insurance problem with it from a tenant perspective - LL regular had chimney swept - and I bought the guard, and bits to go with it (later gave them to charity) ... but if LL had provided - I would have loved her for it!! It wasn't cheap buying all the bits to go with it - but I was a bit odd - wanting to experiene it - and purely because as a kid, our home was only open fires - so it was a bit of a step in time.

          Suspect most people now won't bother with it now adays.

          Many I come across including all my newphew and nieces (20s) won't even bother renting somewhere with an open fire - means that there isn't enough heat in the place.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks all for your advice.
            House has agood central heating system. I am most worried about log rolling forward and sparks. Agree is a relly nice feature but nervous about the safety side.
            Spark

            Comment


            • #7
              based on your fears - go with it - and block-up the chimney and explain it's decorative only.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm sure there is a regulation on hearth size but not sure what it is. Actually just did a quick search online and found this ....

                There are strict regulations governing the size of a fireplace hearth.

                For a Gas Fire the Hearth must be 15" in front of the flame and 2" thick.
                For Solid Fuel Fires the Hearth can be flush with the floor and less than 15" deep provided there is a fixed fender, otherwise it must be 15" in front of the fire.
                For a Solid Fuel Stove the Hearth must be at least 12" in front of the opening door of the stove.

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