TEST Cottages Wood Burners

For Westermill Consideration Only
TEST Cottages Wood Burners

Renting cottages with wood burners in the UK involves specific legal responsibilities and insurance liabilities to ensure the safety of guests and compliance with the law. Here is an outline of these responsibilities and liabilities:

Legal Responsibilities
  1. Health and Safety Regulations:
    • General Duty of Care

      Under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, property owners must ensure the premises are reasonably safe for visitors. This includes maintaining wood burners and ensuring they are in safe working condition.

    • Risk Assessment

      Conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential hazards associated with wood burners and mitigate these risks. Ensure all necessary safety equipment, such as fire guards and carbon monoxide detectors, are provided.

  2. Fire Safety
    • Fire Safety Order 2005

      Landlords must comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which includes ensuring that fire detection and warning systems are in place, providing clear fire escape routes, and maintaining fire safety equipment.

    • Safe Installation and Maintenance

      Ensure wood burners are installed by a competent person, preferably HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme) registered. Regular maintenance and inspections should be carried out to ensure they remain safe to use.

  3. Provision of Safety Information
    • Instruction Manuals

      Provide clear instructions on the safe operation of wood burners. This includes how to light and extinguish the fire, proper ventilation, and the safe storage of fuel.

    • Safety Notices

      Display safety notices around the wood burner, highlighting potential risks and safety precautions.

  4. Carbon Monoxide Safety
    • Carbon Monoxide Detectors

      Install carbon monoxide detectors in rooms where wood burners are present. These detectors should be regularly tested and maintained.

    • Ventilation

      Ensure adequate ventilation in the rooms with wood burners to prevent carbon monoxide buildup.

  5. Building Regulations
    • Compliance

      Ensure that the installation of wood burners complies with the Building Regulations, specifically Document J, which covers combustion appliances and fuel storage systems.

Insurance Liability
  1. Public Liability Insurance
    • Coverage

      Ensure the property has adequate public liability insurance to cover claims made by guests for injury or loss resulting from the use of the wood burner. This includes covering medical expenses, legal fees, and any compensation awarded to the injured party.

    • Scope

      Verify that the insurance policy explicitly covers incidents involving wood burners.

  2. Property Insurance
    • Building and Contents Insurance

      Ensure the property is adequately insured for damage caused by fire. This includes covering the cost of repairs to the building and replacement of contents.

    • Disclosure

      Inform the insurance provider that the property contains wood burners, as failure to disclose this information could invalidate the policy.

  3. Additional Insurance Considerations
    • Liability Waivers

      While waivers can be used to inform guests of the risks, they do not absolve the property owner from legal responsibility. Ensure all safety measures are followed to minimize risk.

    • Emergency Procedures

      Have clear emergency procedures in place and communicate these to guests. This includes providing contact details for emergency services and local support.

Practical Steps for Property Owners
  1. Regular Inspections:
    • Conduct regular inspections of the wood burners and associated safety equipment to ensure they are in good working order.

  2. Guest Briefing:
    • Brief guests on the safe use of wood burners upon their arrival, emphasizing key safety points and providing a written guide.

  3. Emergency Contact Information:
    • Provide guests with emergency contact information and instructions on what to do in case of an emergency, such as a fire or carbon monoxide alarm activation.


Renting cottages with wood burners in the UK requires adhering to stringent health and safety regulations and ensuring adequate insurance coverage to protect both guests and property owners. By maintaining safe installations, conducting regular risk assessments, providing clear safety information, and ensuring proper insurance coverage, property owners can fulfill their legal responsibilities and mitigate potential liabilities.

For more detailed guidance, property owners should consult legal advisors, insurance professionals, and resources provided by organizations such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).