Fire safety regulations are in place to keep our guests, and of course your property/ies safe while letting your holiday home.

On 1st October 2023 the government issued new regulations to ensure that all holiday lets are acting safely and ensuring guests are made as safe as possible. 

We have been working alongside the Professional Association of Self-Caterers (PASC) to try and fully understand these changes.

The government has provided new guidance for all properties of ‘small paying guest accommodation’.

A definition of what constitutes this:

  • A single premises of ground floor, or ground and first floor, providing sleeping accommodation for a maximum of 10 people, with no more than four bedrooms on the first floor and not having an open-plan kitchen


  • Individual flats (whether within a purpose-built block of flats or a house that has been converted into flats), other than unusually large flats.

The updated guide on larger accommodation and properties that do not fit the small accommodation guide as above is still work in progress. This guidance is likely to be published during 2024 and is expected to be more comprehensive, so if you are making changes to your property, please factor fire precautions in.

We are here to support you as much as possible, by providing as much information as we can. However we are not able to provide professional advice and suggest approaching a professional Fire Risk assessor for expert support.


Below are some of the main points from the new guidance for ‘small paying guest accommodation’:

1. Fire Risk Assessment

You will already be familiar that it is a legal requirement to have a Fire Risk Assessment. With the new rules coming into force best practice would be to have your fire risk assessment carried out by a professional. A competent fire risk assessor should be registered/accredited by a professional body.

Black Rock Fire – Matt Tidball, has been carrying out a lot of FRAs for Cornish Holiday Cottages clients  – 07870 508992

Jeff Hick from Fire Safety Cornwall is an alternative Truro based specialist – 01872 704047

(Approximate cost for a small property risk assessment is £125).

If you feel competent to do so you can conduct your own Fire Risk Assessment. PASC has provided a template for smaller properties. To request a copy of this please email us at

Your Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) should be revisited regularly; amended if there are any structural changes to the property, and reviewed on an at least annual basis. The FRA document should also be displayed in your property and/or provided to the guests digitally.

2. Emergency escape lighting

If a fire interrupts the electricity supply you need to provide lighting to enable a safe exit. You can consider ‘borrowed lighting’ from nearby streetlights. It may be acceptable in small premises to use rechargeable, plug in torches, but ideally you would have some form of lighting that will come on automatically if the mains electricity supply fails. 

3. Fire Doors

For most small accommodation you do not necessarily need fire doors but internal doors need to provide at least thirty minutes of fire protection. So-called ‘egg-box doors’, (hollow doors), or old style panelled doors, where the panel is a thin piece of timber, should be replaced. 

4. Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarms

Smoke detectors are now required in all bedrooms, sitting rooms, halls, and staircases. Best practice is that they should be wired into the lighting circuit. Battery alarms are only acceptable as a temporary solution for up to 2-3 years. Complex systems, with a fire panel, should be checked every six months. If you need assistance with getting more alarms installed please let us know and we will instruct a fire technician/electrician on your behalf.

The kitchen should have a heat alarm again linked as above.

You should have a CO alarm wherever there is combustible fuel equipment, such as a gas boiler or a log burner.

Your housekeeper will check the alarms on every changeover and keep a log. We have software to manage these checks and the compliance.

5. Heating and hot water

Hot water and heating systems must be inspected annually. This includes renewable energy such as air/ground source heat pumps.

6. Locks

Exit doors need to be easy to unlock from the inside without a key. Thumb turn locks are strongly recommended on all exit doors. 

7. Fixed Wiring Checks

EICR (fixed wiring check) is required every 5 years.

8. Extension leads

Extension leads should be avoided.

9. Candles

Candles are not be provided/used in holiday homes and our terms and conditions have been updated to this effect.

10. Smoking

All of our properties are non-smoking. 

11. Wood-burners and open fires

Please sweep chimney flues annually and keep a copy of the HETAS certificate.

12. Fire Safety Equipment

Fire extinguishers are not mandatory, but if they are provided, they need to be non-powder multi-purpose and regularly maintained. You are expected to provide a fire blanket and this must be wall mounted between the hob and the nearest exit door.

13. Fire Notice

You must display a Fire Action notice which gives basic instructions about what to do and where to go in the event of fire, along with location information for the property, to provide to the local fire and rescue service.

14. Changeover checks

Checks on all fire safety equipment and exit routes must be carried out at each changeover and recorded. Our digital check will be shared with every housekeeper and training will be given.


3 Storey/Open plan/5+ Bedroom accommodation:

For larger/more complex properties the document Fire Safety Risk Assessment: Sleeping Accommodation currently applies and is a more comprehensive version of the Small Paying Accommodation requirements.

Larger, more substantial properties will require more complex fire alarm systems, fire doors with self-closing levers on the escape routes of at least FD30S (providing minimum 30 minute fire protection) , emergency lighting and to ensure that there is never more than 18 metres from the furthest sleeping position to the nearest exit door.

Whatever the size of your holiday home, we highly recommend you instructing a professional to make the Fire Risk Assessment and then carrying out the requested works to meet the requirements.


If you have any questions please email us on