Making it Safe
All landlords have a Duty of Care to ensure their tenants are safe.
The law requires that all appliances are safe and strongly recommends that everything should be independently tested.
Duty of Care demands that all electrical appliances are tested on a regular basis, particularly at the point at which the property becomes available to let.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994 state that supplying unsafe appliances is an offence. In the event of an accident involving electricity the landlord must be able to demonstrate that the supply and appliances are safe. This can only be done if they have been independently tested.
Gas Safety Certificates
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 state that all let and managed properties must be tested annually for safety. Only Gas Safe registered businesses with Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) qualified engineers are authorised to carry out work on gas appliances and piping. We recommend only fully qualified contractors to carry out electrical and gas safety checks. We are happy to handle this on your behalf.
We recommend battery operated smoke alarms are installed. (Once installed, responsibility for replacing the battery passes to the tenant.)
Failure to comply with regulations can result in hefty fines and in some extreme cases, imprisonment.
Fire & Furnishing Regultaions
Since 1 January 1997, all furniture provided in furnished rented accommodation – houses, flats, bedsits – must meet the fire resistance requirements of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1998.
The regulations apply to any of the following upholstered items:
• Beds, mattresses and headboards
• Sofa beds, futons and any other convertibles
• Loose and stretch covers for furniture
• Nursery furniture
• Scatter cushions, seat covers and pillows
The regulations do not apply to:
• Sleeping bags or loose covers for mattresses
• Bedclothes – including duvets and pillowcases
Since October 2008, all private residential property available for let is required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). An EPC is a legal requirement for new lets and is valid for 10 years.
All tenants must be provided with a copy of the EPC at the start of the tenancy. Grants may be available to tenants in receipt of Local Housing Allowance for some of the improvements mentioned in the report.
Mandatory HMO Licences
If you own a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) – a rented property with shared facilities - you may need a licence to let.
A licence is required if the HMO has:
• Three or more storeys
• Five or more tenants forming more than one household
We can offer advice on this or you can have a look at these useful websites: