Private Rental Property Landlords Health and Safety Responsibilities

28 January 2012  |  I-Am-The-Agent  |  0 Comments

It has been estimated that there are around 30 deaths and 4000 accidents each year in the UK as a result of unsafe electrical equipment in households. It can happen anywhere and at any time so don’t think it can’t happen in your own property. Health and safety is an extremely important issue, especially if you are a residential landlord. Under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), your local authority may inspect your property for health and safety hazards. If any serious hazardous problems are found, you will be required to fix them. However, you can reduce the chance of this by carrying out your own checks, such as spotting and dealing with potential hazards like damp.

It is vital that landlords wishing to rent a private property ensure that their property is regularly inspected kept safe and free from health hazards in order to protect  tenants. Regulations for gas and electrical safety, fire regulations and energy performance certificates are extremely important matters which landlords must be made aware of – it’s worth going through the list before trying to rent a property online for complete peace of mind that all paperwork is in order and the house or apartment is in a habitable condition. As a landlord you can ensure that your private rented property is kept safe and hazard free by carrying out these essential duties:

Gas installation safety
• If your rented property is connected to a mains gas supply, an annual maintenance check of gas pipe work, appliances and flues must be arranged and carried out by an engineer who’s registered with the Gas Safe Register.
• Inspection records should be kept for at least two years and a copy of the gas safety inspection certificate should be left for the tenant by the inspector after the check has been done. The tenant copy must remain on the rental premises. If the landlord is not present at the time of the check, a copy will be sent through the post by the inspector. A copy of the gas safety certificate should also be provided to new tenants when they move in and checked on the day of the move in to ensure it is still valid.
• A carbon monoxide monitor(s) is also recommended for any property that has gas appliances.

Electrical installation safety
• Regular inspections of fixed electrical installations should be carried out every five years. This includes fixed sockets and light fittings.
• Once a year, landlords should arrange for a qualified electrician to carry out a portable appliance testing (PAT) safety test on the portable electrical equipment you provide for tenants. This includes applicances such as toasters and kettles.

Fire safety
• Incase of a fire, you must ensure that a fire escape route from your property is pre-planned for your tenants. Even if you’re advertising a property to rent online but haven’t yet found tenants, it is still vital that an escape route is planned. Providing fire alarms and extinguishers may also be required depending on the size of property.
• You must follow the fire-resistant furniture regulations if you let furnished accommodation to tenants. Furniture manufacturers will usually label their fire-resistant products.
• It is recommended that fire blankets are provided, particularly for the kitchen area.

Energy performance certificates
• An Energy Performance Certifcate (EPC) is essential for rented properties. It rates the energy efficiency of a property and is based on the property’s energy performance, for example, how much heat is lost through the roof. An EPC also takes account of the property's heating and lighting. A better energy rating will also make the house more attractive to tenants and means you can command a higher rental income.

Taking on these key responsibilities will help ensure your tenants are happy and safe in their new home. If you don’t have time to undertake this work yourself, I Am The Agent’s fixed fee property management can take care of all the details for a single monthly fee.

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