There were 20 fatalities in 2016 due to fires. In almost half of cases the cause was either unknown or under investigation but where the cause was identified it ranged from electrical appliances, unattended cookers and open fires. In only 8 cases were there identified smoke detectors.
If you encounter a fire you should immediately phone 112 or 999 and get everyone to safety.
The Fire Services Acts 1981 & 2003 places a legal obligation on landlords to:
- Take all reasonable measures to guard against the outbreak of fire on such premises
- Provide reasonable fire safety measures for such premises and prepare and provide appropriate fire safety procedures for ensuring the safety of persons on such premises
- Ensure that the fire safety measures and procedures are applied at all times, and
- Ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of persons on the premises in the event of an outbreak of fire whether such outbreak has occurred or not.
If you have concerns in relation to the fire safety of your privately rented dwelling you can contact your local fire officer.
A person convicted for an offence under the above may be liable to a maximum fine of €12,697.38 and/or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years. A fire safety notice may be issued prohibiting the use of the dwelling or part of it, outline specific measure that need to be undertaken and it may have a timeframe within which to take action.
The minimum standards that all private rented property must meet are laid out in The Housing (Standards for Rented Housing) Regulations 2017 which were introduced on 1st July 2017 replacing previous regulations from 2008 and 2009.
In terms of fire safety your landlord must ensure that there is a suitable self-contained fire detection and alarm system and fire blanket. In multi unit buildings such as apartments each self-contained house shall contain a suitable fire detection and alarm system and an emergency evacuation plan. In common areas there must be a suitable fire detection and alarm system and emergency lighting.
Fire detection and alarm systems and emergency lighting must be maintained in accordance with current standards produced by the National Standards Authority of Ireland for Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems in Buildings and for Emergency Lighting.
What are your rights if there is a fire?
Unfortunately if there is a fire you currently have limited rights. Should a fire make the property uninhabitable then this is said to frustrate the contract and effectively neither party can be held to it.
As a tenant you should have your own contents insurance.
In the event of a fire there is no legal obligation on your landlord to provide you with temporary or alternative accommodation-this may be negotiated on a case by case basis.
If you have incurred costs as a result of a fire you should keep all receipts which you may need if you have to take legal action.
What if you cannot source alternative accommodation?
If you are unable to source alternative accommodation you should contact your local authority as if you are made homeless as a result of a fire you may be given a priority status. This may vary according to the local authority covering the area you are living in.
 Fatalities for Fire 2016 http://www.housing.gov.ie/
If you have concerns in relation to the property you are renting contact your nearest fire authority which you can get from the document opposite