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Health and Safety in Rented Properties

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As a private landlord, you are responsible for ensuring that your property is safe for your tenants to occupy. The health and safety regulations for rented properties have become more stringent in recent years. In addition to meeting your current legal obligations, it is important to keep up-to-date with changes to the law, which may affect you.

Your precise obligations will depend upon the type of property you own and the tenancy agreement. But whether you are renting out a studio flat, a detached property or a house in multiple occupation (HMO), you must always adhere to your safety responsibilities as a landlord. Doing so will protect both your tenants and your investment, while ensuring that your insurance is valid.

 

Gas safety

All gas equipment must be safely installed and maintained by a Gas Safe-registered engineer. Annual safety checks should be conducted by a registered engineer on all appliances and flues and you should keep a record of the checks. You must supply new tenants with a copy of the gas safety check record before they move in or within 28 days of the check being carried out.

Any gas appliance that you own, and provide for your tenant’s use, is your responsibility. If your tenant supplies their own gas appliance, you are responsible for parts of the associated installation and pipework but not for the actual appliance.

Click here to find out more about Gas Safety.

Health and safety in rented properties

Electrical safety

You are obliged to ensure that the electrical system in your property is safe. This means sockets, light fittings and appliances, including cookers and kettles.

Use a Part P-registered electrician for all electrical installation. A domestic electrical installation certificate (DEIC) must be obtained for every new electrical installation. Electrical systems must be inspected and tested every five years.

If your property is an HMO, your local authority may request evidence of current electrical certification. If they do, you must supply a valid DEIC within seven days.

There is no legal obligation to do so in England, but it is advisable to have a portable appliance test (PAT) carried out annually, or between each tenancy. Obtain and retain written confirmation of the tests and the results. PAT testing is compulsory in Scotland.

You should invest in appliances which carry a CE Mark. This is the manufacturer’s claim that they meet the minimum requirements of EU legislation.

You should also issue your tenants with copies of instruction manuals for any appliances in the property so that they can use them safely.

Between tenancies or before you market your property, it is advisable to conduct a visual inspection, during which you should:

  • Check for broken or missing switches
  • Check for broken or missing sockets
  • Check that each socket or appliance is in working order
  • Inspect all appliances for damage
  • Ensure that all cables and plugs are free from damage

Click here to find out more about Electrical Safety

Fire Safety

A fire can be a devastating event, threatening the lives of your tenants and ruining your property. You must do everything you can to reduce the risk of fire. Your minimum legal requirements are to:

  • Provide a smoke alarm on each storey
  • Provide a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel-burning appliance
  • Ensure that access to all escape routes is clear at all times and that tenants understand they must keep these clear
  • Provide fire-safe furniture and soft furnishings
  • Provide fire alarms and extinguishers in an HMO
  • Provide safe appliances
  • Ensure that flats and HMOs have fire doors where necessary and that these conform to safety regulations

 

All blocks of flats and large HMOs in England and Wales must have a fire risk assessment. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires that you are properly able to assess potential fire risks if you conduct the assessment yourself. This means you must either educate yourself to be considered a competent person to make an assessment or engage a third party, such as a qualified fire risk assessor.

Even if you just rent out a single flat and are not obliged to carry out a risk assessment, it’s advisable to conduct one anyway. The assessment will enable you to identify any issues you might otherwise have missed, including hazardous substances, obstructions and furniture which does not meet the required safety standards.

Click here to read more about Fire Safety.

Health and safety in rented properties

Energy Performance Certificate

You must have an up to date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your property. This features information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs. It is valid for 10 years and will include recommendations on how energy efficiency can be improved. An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). Landlords in England and Wales must ensure that their properties reach at least an EPC rating of E before granting a new tenancy.

Click here to read more about Energy Performance Certificates.

 

Dealing with damp

If your property is affected by damp, this will have health implications for your tenants. There are three types of damp to be aware of; condensation, penetrating damp and rising damp. All types of damp can cause mould to form, which is a health hazard.

Click here to read more about dealing with damp.

Health and safety in rented properties

 

Condensation

Condensation is the most common form of damp in rental properties. It forms when excess moisture in the air comes into contact with a cold surface, such as a window or wall. Inadequate ventilation, heating or insulation will make condensation worse. It might be possible to undertake alterations to your property to alleviate condensation. You should advise your tenants how to reduce moisture indoors. Installing a dehumidifier will certainly improve the situation.

Click here to read more about condensation.

 

Penetrating damp and rising damp

These are more serious issues. Eliminating damp will involve repairs to your guttering, plumbing or the structure of the building. You should seek the help of a professional to identify the cause of the issue and then conduct the necessary repairs.

Click here to learn more about penetrating and rising damp.

Health and safety in rented properties

Exceeding your responsibilities as a landlord

Going the extra mile, rather than doing the bare minimum, will reduce the likelihood of accidents. Your tenants will be safer, your property will be better protected, and you will have a more robust defence should an accident occur.

 

Conducting safety check in your houses to rent

If you don’t feel confident to handle the required safety checks yourself, or are struggling for time, you can choose to engage the assistance of a property management professional or have your property managed by a letting agent.

 

Assetgrove’s professional and fully-trained maintenance team, ensures that our landlords’ properties are properly maintained throughout their rent guarantee agreement period.

One of our team will regularly visit your property to conduct checks and arrange for any necessary work to be carried out. We are fully transparent in our communication with our landlords and provide quotes for approval prior to commencing any required work.

With our professional approach, and superior customer service, we guarantee that your property will be well managed to give you greater peace of mind.

Contact us today to find out more.

Neil Jennings

Neil background is in marketing and business development and has over 20 years experience in the field. He runs Asset Grove and is involved in the marketing strategy for most of our campaigns.

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