Our Guide to Health And Safety In Rented Properties
As a landlord, you have a host of responsibilities from various financial obligations to building maintenance to health and safety. Most importantly however, is the duty of care you have to your tenants. You are responsible for both the condition of the property and for ensuring that it is a safe place for your tenants to live.
With that said, tenants do also have their part to play as they must communicate any issues with you quickly so you can take the appropriate action. In this blog, we have comprised a handy guide to ensure you stay in the know of all the required the health and safety obligations you have as a landlord.
All furnishings you supply the property, from beds to sofas to chairs, must meet furniture and furnishings fire safety regulations. You can make sure of this by checking the manufacturers label or contacting the manufacturer directly. It’s also vital that a written risk assessment is completed for the property, ideally by a fire specialist, which should be reviewed periodically. This should include clear instructions of the escape routes in case of a fire, which can also be displayed within the property on fire doors or in fire escape route areas.
All gas fixtures and equipment must be safely installed and maintained by a registered Gas Safe engineer. A formal check should be carried out annually, where the engineer can check for any required repairs. Once the gas safety check has been completed, a copy of the certificate should be presented to your tenant before they move into the property.
It is a legal requirement that there be at least one smoke alarm on every story of the property, which must be tested at the start of every new tenancy. However, we highly recommend that you exceed the minimum legal requirement and place a smoke alarm in all living rooms and in every hallway and landing. A heat sensor for the kitchen is also recommended, as is a carbon monoxide alarm: these are required for any room within which there’s a solid fuel burning appliance, but we would recommend every property has one of these regardless.
It’s a landlord’s responsibility to make sure that any and all electrical appliances are safe and working before each tenancy. If your property is an HMO you’re legally required to get an Electrical Installation Condition Report. Alongside that, we recommend for all properties that a Portable Appliance Test (PAT) be carried out on all electrical appliances every 12 months.
Although the risk of Legionnaires disease may be relatively small, it’s still vital that you regularly assess the safety of the water in your property. Whilst you can assess this yourself, to be on the safe side we’d advise that you hire an assessor to check this for you.
Inspections offer landlords the opportunity to ensure the safety checks you have outsourced to engineers such as PAT tests, have in fact been carried out, that the fire safety escape routes are not obstructed, that the property remains secure with well-maintained boundaries, and to check for anything that may need repaired. Regular inspections can highlight any issues early to prevent these from escalating into what could become more serious health or safety issues for your tenants.
At ZFA, we can help you manage your property or portfolio of properties. If you’re thinking of buying to let, chat to one of our friendly knowledgeable employees – we can help you with a range of services, from rent guarantee and property management, estate agency and property investment, and commercial letting.
Contact us today if you have any questions and we’ll take care of the rest.
I have been working with ZFA for 4 years and they manage my full portfolio. I don't need to worry about a thing, they manage every aspect of my properties - highly recommended.
Mr Stephen Jones