Research by Birmingham estate and lettings agent, Barrows and Forrester, has put together a tenant guide for those hoping to hold fireworks displays at their rental home.
Bonfire Night is almost here. As one of the most popular and widely-celebrated days of the year, towns and cities up and down the country will be hosting large, public displays. But, with COVID-19 still an underlying threat, more people than usual are choosing to hold their own fireworks displays at home. For homeowners, this is perfectly fine so long as local council rules are followed. But what are the rules for rental tenants?
The Tenancy Agreement
The answer depends very much on the tenancy agreement. Many landlords choose to include a specific clause in the contract stating that bonfires or fireworks are strictly prohibited. But if such a clause does not exist, tenants are still strongly advised to speak to their landlord beforehand in order to avoid any potential conflict.
Even if there isn’t a specific fireworks clause, tenancy agreements are very likely to state that tenants must not cause any nuisance or aggravation for neighbours, and certainly not engage in any antisocial behavior.
Always gain consent from both the landlord and neighbours. If loud noise is inevitable, try and keep it confined to a short, previously agreed, period of time.
Don’t allow the night to run beyond the specified time agreed with your neighbours. Fireworks can be very loud and are known to distress pets and some elderly people so don’t go overboard for the sake of it. If guests are coming, ensure they keep noise to a minimum if celebrating late into the night.
Always consider any potential damages such as damage to the ground and consider ahead of the event whether you have the budget or resources to repair any damages that may occur.
Health & Safety
Consent from neighbours and the landlord is only the first consideration tenants should make before holding a bonfire night party. Top of the priority list should be ensuring the safety of everyone attending the celebration, even if it’s just a handful of people.
The cold truth is that there are an average of 552 fireworks-related accidents every November, some of which are devastating and life-changing. Because of this, the fire brigade always recommends that people attend properly organised events.
If you can’t put a considerable distance between your guests and the fireworks or bonfire your property isn’t suitable for a fireworks night party. If you can, always ensure there is a designated area assigned for letting off fireworks, away from the house and any fences or trees.
Can you let off fireworks safely? For example, if you only have a concrete outdoor space, the chances are you won’t be able to securely fix the fitting that holds fireworks when they go off. Should they topple once ignited, they could be sent shooting into your fence, property or worst case, a person.
Fireworks can be dangerous in confined spaces such as a small garden, but not nearly as dangerous as a bonfire. If not appropriately constructed and managed, a bonfire can cause damage to fences, sheds, bushes, and trees, not to mention the people in attendance. Everyone should be kept well-back from the fire, and barriers should be used if children will be present.
As the host you must accept responsibility for the safety of those attending the night. This should not be taken lightly.
Managing Director of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, commented:
“Tenants should be very careful when deciding whether or not to host a bonfire night party, or even when letting some fireworks off for the kids. A causal approach can soon turn into a nightmare if proper care isn’t given.
We would strongly advise that tenants go to great lengths to gain permission from the landlord and the neighbours beforehand. For the latter, a small gift or gesture of good will is a nice way of showing your appreciation. Or, of course, you could invite them to come along, negating the problem altogether.
Common sense at all times, that’s what’s important and if common sense tells you that hosting a fireworks party is in breach of your tenancy agreement or could be potentially dangerous, you’re probably best heading to the local display instead.”