Legal requirements for tourism businesses

Fire, gas and electricity safety in tourism businesses


All accommodation businesses, regardless of their size, have to comply with safety laws relating to fire, gas and electricity.  

Fire safety

All businesses must:

  • carry out regular fire risk assessments
  • record the assessment, if they employ five or more employees 
  • put in place adequate fire prevention and evacuation measures

Fire risk assessment is the foundation for all the fire safety measures you need on the premises. It is essential to keep your business and your guests safe. See fire safety and risk assessment.

Furniture fire safety

If you are providing self-catering accommodation that contains upholstered furniture, your furniture must comply with certain safety tests:

  • upholstered furniture must pass a prescribed cigarette resistance test 
  • cover prescribed fabric, whether for use in permanent or loose covers, will normally have to pass a match resistance test 
  • filling materials for all furniture must pass ignitability tests as specified in the regulations 

All new upholstered furniture (except mattresses and bedding) and loose and stretch covers for furniture must carry a permanent label detailing compliance with fire safety requirements. Always look for these labels before buying any upholstered furniture for your property.

You could consider buying furniture designed to cope with a greater fire hazard (eg hotel beds and chairs). When re-equipping your self-catering property, it will normally be for you to decide if you require the new furniture to meet these higher fire resistance standards. If you are in doubt, check with your local fire authority. 

Electrical safety

Electrical safety laws apply to most electrical equipment  in your accommodation. This includes:

  • toasters
  • kettles
  • TVs
  • lamps
  • radios

The laws apply to new and second-hand equipment equally.

If you are making the equipment available for your guests to use, you will be liable for their safety. For electrical equipment to be regarded as safe, there should be no risk (or only a minimal risk) that the equipment could cause death or injury to any person, or cause damage to property.

Whilst not a legal requirement, you should regularly check and service the electrical goods you supply in your accommodation to ensure their safety.

Gas safety

You must have gas appliances, installation pipework or flue installed in your premises in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. You must maintain them in a safe condition. A Gas Safe engineer must inspect them at least once a year.  

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