When it comes to the responsibilities of a landlord, the safety of the tenants must be a top priority. To allow you to understand what can be expected, we have compiled the main safety concerns you must be aware of and the legal obligations you must follow.
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms
In England, it is a legal requirement for all rental properties to follow The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations (2015). The regulations detail that you must install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of the property where a room is used or partly used as living accommodation.
Carbon monoxide alarms must also be installed in any room containing a solid fuel-burning appliance, such as a wood burner, coal fire or biomass. You or your letting agent must ensure that every alarm is in working order on the first day of a new tenancy.
Electrical safety obligations
In England, it is your legal duty to ensure that any electrical items that have been provided in your rental property are safe throughout the tenancy. As well as appliances, you must also ensure all electrical systems such as sockets, switches and light fittings are safe.
Electrical safety standards
The electrical safety standards for the private rented sector in England came into force on 1 June 2020 and applies to all new tenancies from 1 July 2020 and all existing tenancies from 1 April 2021. The regulation sets out new rules for landlords to ensure that all fixed electrical installations are safe and maintained correctly.
Gas safety checks for landlords
Research has identified that more than one in three private landlords did not know that it was their responsibility to get gas appliances checked. With this in mind, make sure that you understand your legal requirements concerning gas safety.
Legionnaire’s disease is considered a pneumonia-like infection, which is commonly caused by the inhalation of small droplets of water contaminated by Legionella bacteria. Landlords must assess and control the risk of tenant’s exposure to Legionella. Control measures include:
- Flushing out the water system before letting the property.
- Ensuring cold water tanks have a tight lid to stop debris from getting into the system.
- Setting control parameters to ensure water is stored at the correct temperature.
- Remove unused pipework.
You should inform your tenants about control measures they can do, such as cleaning showerheads or running all the taps for five minutes if they have been away. Tell them to let yourself or the letting agent know if problems occur with the water system, or if the water is not heating properly.
You are recommended to keep records of any legionella assessments conducted and plan follow up checks to be carried out periodically.
Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 set levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery. All furnishings should pass the ‘smouldering cigarette’ and ‘match flame’ resistance test and carry a label to confirm this.
Generally, items manufactured in the UK after 1990 meet the required standards and display the appropriate permanent label confirming their compliance. If items do not comply, they should be removed from the property before it is let, unless they are deemed an exemption e.g., furniture manufactured before 1950.
At Boxall Brown & Jones, our friendly and knowledgeable lettings team are always happy to help. With our full property management service, we can ensure that your property is to the best standards and completely compliant with the latest legislations.
We are Propertymark Protected meaning that you can be reassured that our services will always have our clients and tenants at the heart of what we do.
If you would like to enquire about our property management services, give us a call on 01332 384438 or email [email protected].