Close Icon
Fire icon overlaid on internal shot of holiday cottage

Fire safety regulations are essential for ensuring the wellbeing of guests staying in holiday accommodation. Owners must remain vigilant, stay updated with government guidance, and make sure their properties comply with legal requirements to ensure the safety of their guests.

The UK Government has recently introduced new fire safety guidelines for ‘Small Holiday Lets’, effective from October 1st, 2023. This article provides an overview of these regulations, but please remember that it’s not a replacement for reading the full Government guide, which is essential for complete understanding and compliance.

New fire regulations 2023

Click on the quick links below to learn about a specific topic,  or continue reading our full guide to understand what the fire safety regulations mean for you.

What is the new fire safety guidance? 

We’ve summarised the new fire safety regulations below. Remember, this blog is just to give you a brief idea and is not to be depended upon when making your property fire-safe. Please read the full Government guide to ensure your holiday let is safe and compliant. 

Carrying out a fire risk assessment

Fire risk assessment icon over an internal shot of a holiday cottage

Owners of small holiday lets must conduct a thorough fire risk assessment of their property. This involves inspecting the premises to identify fire hazards, ensuring preventive measures are in place, and taking precautions to protect everyone in the holiday let, including guests, staff, and other potential users.

Can I do my own fire risk assessment?

The Government guidance suggests that for small accommodations, fire risk assessments can often be completed without specialist knowledge, with the help of the provided risk assessment template. However, if you’re not confident conducting it independently, seeking assistance from a specialised fire risk assessor is advisable. As the responsible person, you must ensure that the measures in place are adequate and justifiable.

Examples of fire hazards

Fire hazard icon over an internal shot of a holiday cottage

As part of your risk assessment, it’s crucial to identify and mitigate various fire hazards within your property. Some examples of hazards outlined in the Government guidance are listed below.

Electrical installations & equipment

Electrical issues are a common cause of fires, so it’s essential to regularly inspect equipment in line with regulations, such as an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). For more guidance, visit the Government’s Holiday Let Fire Safety guide, or for more specific information on electrical safety, visit the Government website.


While the law doesn’t prohibit guests from smoking in private spaces, it’s safest not to allow smoking within your holiday property. If you choose this policy, clearly display “no smoking” signs. At Coast & Country Cottages, we do not permit smoking in any of our self-catering properties, and this is prominently stated in all our listings.


No one expects to have arson committed at their holiday home, but no hazard should be ruled out. Preventing unauthorised access to your accommodation is important to avoid the risk of arson. Owners should also ensure that refuse and rubbish bins are placed away from the property, especially near windows, to prevent external fires from spreading.


Heating systems should undergo annual maintenance checks by qualified contractors to ensure they are safe. Avoid using portable heaters, or if they’re essential, make sure they’re away from combustible materials or fire escape routes. Some types of heaters are not suitable for use at all; these are detailed in the Government guidance, which also provides guidelines for those with log burners.


Depending on the type of oven you have, the guidance document offers measures to make your cooking equipment safer. All types of ovens require regular maintenance and cleaning to avoid fire risk.


While candles can create a great atmosphere for guests, they pose a significant fire risk. It’s advisable not to provide candles for guests and suggest that they refrain from using their own.


Good housekeeping is essential to maintain the safety of your accommodation. Regularly remove refuse and keep combustible materials away from potential ignition sources. Ensure escape routes are clear of rubbish or storage so that guests can evacuate quickly in case of a fire.

Furniture and furnishings

All furniture and furnishings must comply with the Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations 1988.


Many fires are caused by the work of contractors. Owners should ensure all contractors are suitably qualified and competent, and follow the correct safety measures when hot work is carried out.

Dangerous Substances

It’s important that dangerous substances are stored correctly. Barbecues or fire pits should be kept a safe distance from the property and never placed on balconies. Gas for barbecues should be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and instructions should be provided to guests.

Fire protection measures

Fire extinguisher icon over an internal shot of a holiday cottage

Fire escape routes

The law requires you to establish clear escape routes to allow guests to exit the property quickly and safely. Consider the needs of different guests, such as elderly individuals, people with disabilities, or children, and ensure the route is suitable for them. Escape routes should also be equipped with fire-safe doors or walls. For more details, consult the Government guide.

Emergency lighting

Your holiday accommodation must have adequate lighting in the event of a fire to facilitate easy escape. You should also consider lighting in case the electrical supply fails, which could be as simple as street lighting outside or other lighting which isn’t dependent on the property’s circuitry, such as night lights, accessible torches, or specialist emergency lighting.

Fire escape signs

In smaller premises where fire escape routes are clear, signage may not be necessary. However, larger properties may require signs to guide guests to safety in case of a fire.

Firefighting equipment

Guests are not expected to use firefighting equipment, as their primary focus is on evacuating safely. However, when staff are present in the property, appropriate equipment should be supplied and maintained, with instructions for use provided in accordance with guidance.

Although guests are not expected to use firefighting equipment, it’s advisable to provide a small multi-purpose fire extinguisher and/or a fire blanket in the kitchen area. Suitable multi-purpose extinguishers, guaranteed for five years, are available at various DIY outlets. Regularly check the gauge to ensure the stored pressure has not leaked. Avoid providing multi-purpose powder fire extinguishers, as they are not suitable for enclosed spaces.

Fire detection and alarms

Smoke alarms should be installed in all bedrooms and common areas, while heat alarms are necessary in kitchens and other areas where smoke might trigger false alarms. A smoke alarm should also be placed in the roof space if it contains combustible materials. Smoke and heat alarms should be interlinked to sound simultaneously when a fire is detected.

Escape plan

Owners should provide guests with a simple escape plan drawing since they may not be familiar with the property layout.

Maintenance and testing

Regular testing and maintenance of fire safety equipment and procedures are essential; there’s no sense in spending time and money on a fire safety plan if it doesn’t work in practice. Refer to the Government guidance document for a comprehensive list of required tests.

Carbon monoxide detectors

Although not mentioned in the Government’s new guidance, carbon monoxide detectors are essential for guest safety in your holiday property. It’s a legal requirement to have them in any room with a solid fuel-burning appliance, such as a log burner or open fire. Consider installing them in rooms with gas-burning appliances, like gas burners or ovens, as carbon monoxide can also be produced by faulty gas equipment.

Which properties do the new guidelines apply to?

The new fire safety guidance applies to holiday properties that accommodate fewer than 10 people and have no more than 4 bedrooms on the first floor. This includes various types of accommodation, such as cottages, chalets, caravans, and glamping pods.

Please note that this guidance only covers properties located on the ground floor or across the ground and first floor. Properties with more than 2 floors are not addressed in this guidance. If your holiday let has more than 2 floors, you should adhere to other government guidance on premises with paying guest sleeping accommodation.

Ensuring the safety of your holiday property is paramount, and compliance with these fire regulations is a crucial step towards achieving that. Stay informed, conduct regular assessments, and take the necessary precautions to create a safe environment for your guests.

How Coast & Country Cottages can help you

Owners who use Coast & Country Cottages can rest assured that we’ll provide them with guides to property safety and legal regulations. We’ll also be happy to suggest professional fire risk assessors to help you carry out your risk assessment.

Although we can’t advise you on, and aren’t responsible for, fire safety at your property, we hope that by doing these things we’re starting you off on the right foot. You can then read into the matter further and seek your own advice as and when you feel it’s needed.

To learn more about letting your property through Coast & Country Cottages, call us on 01548 843773, email, or visit our website.