Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What safety aspects should I be considering as a landlord? (part 1)

Letting property comes with many obligations from the landlord and here are some main areas Scott Bates and Coles thinks you consider:
  • Interested potential tenants must be provided with a copy of the property Energy Performance Certificate at the earliest opportunity, usually within any written details which they may be provided with.
  • Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
This regulation applies to all landlords who let property with any gas installations in place, be it in the form of a boiler, gas fire, oven, hob or portable heater etc. (LPG included)
To comply with this regulation, all gas appliances must be serviced annually and any repairs necessary to bring the appliance(s) up to standard, carried out immediately. The gas engineer must also provide a record of their inspection, a part of which is given to the tenant.
You must ensure that any contractor used is sufficiently qualified to carry out this service.
  • Fire and Furnishings (Fire)(Safety)(Amendment) Regulations 1993
These regulations have been in place since early in 1993 and require that all upholstery, upholstered furnishings and soft furnishings (beds, sofas etc) must comply with the fire safety regulations that have been in place for some time now and have governed the sale of such items. They must conform with the three tests used to measure the flame retardant properties of such furnishings, namely The Cigarette Test, The Match Test and the Ignitability Test.
N.B.  You cannot loan, give, sell, or store within the property, any upholstery, upholstered furnishings or soft furnishings (beds, sofas etc) that do not comply with theses fire safety regulations.
  • Fire Alarms
                Scott-Bates and Coles INSISTS that smoke detectors be fitted within all property for rent as a basic safety feature.                               
                  Scott-Bates and Coles also recommend that, as well as smoke detectors, Carbon Monoxide detectors be fitted within all property for rent where appropriate. (Where there are gas or open fires, or in the location of the boiler if so recommended by the gas engineer).
Properties that come under HMO licensing will have additional fire safety requirements that must be adhered to.
  • Electrical equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations state that any electrical equipment in excess of 50 volts must be both safe and satisfy requirements relating to colour coding of main leads, sleeving of pins on plugs and fusing information. The best, and arguably only way, to protect yourself from any possible prosecution as the landlord is to have all the appliances tested (PAT) annually, or between tenancies, by a qualified electrician.
For the same reasons Scott-Bates and Coles cannot recommend enough obtaining a full electrical safety certificate for your property, as this is the only way to help ensure that your tenant is as safe as they should be.
N.B.  You cannot loan, give, sell or store within the property any electrical equipment that does not satisfy the requirements of these regulations.