Can I say no to my tenant using an open fire?
My property has an open fire and original chimney - if the tenant wants to have a coal fire, can we say no, or if we agree do we have to supply a fire guard and set rules of operation?
You can say no and put a clause in the AST forbidding its use, if you wish to. However, with chilly nights coming in, and the lure of Christmas stockings hanging up in front of an open fire, do consider if this a rule that your tenants might bend?
A roaring open fire could be a real feature of your property, and in some instances if could be considered that it is better to be forearmed, and have properly prepared the property and fireplace, than have your tenant take the opportunity to use a fireplace that might not be set up for use.
If you choose to allow your tenants the opportunity to use this feature, you should provide proper guidance for use and maintenance, and it will be your responsibility to ensure the upkeep.
Make sure that there has never been a back-boiler installed (if there has then disconnect pipework and block it off the fireplace), you will need to schedule regular chimney sweeping, provide a fire guard and non-flammable hearth.
As the fire is a solid fuel burning appliance, you will also need to make sure that there is a CO alarm fitted in the room with it. This should be tested at the start of every tenancy (and it is best practice to test throughout the tenancy during routine maintenance visits too), and make sure that you make detailed documentation of the test!
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