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Health and Safety in a rental property

As a landlord, there are many checks that need to be carried out on a rental property and it is your responsibility to ensure these are done.

The Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HSSRS)

The Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HSSRS) was introduced under the Housing Act 2004 and came into effect on 6 April 2006 and applies to residential properties in England.  Landlords are fully responsible for ensuring that there are no hazards within the property. There should be nothing which could put a tenant at risk. The most common hazards are lack of heating, fire, falls, lead in drinking water pipes and old paintwork, and hot surfaces that could lead to burns or scalds. For example, fires, heaters, cookers and hot taps. Click here for more information.

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, known as the Homes Act, will come in to force on the 20th March 2019. The Homes Act amends the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, It will only apply to tenancies made after that date so any tenancy entered into before 20 March (i.e. signed by both parties and executed) will not be covered by the legislation initially even if the actual occupation begins after 20 March.

Landlords, and letting agents acting on their behalf, will be required to ensure that a property, and its common parts, are fit for human habitation at the beginning and for the rest of a tenancy. Tenants will have the right to take their landlord or letting agent directly to Court, if they have not complied with the Act. If decided by the Court, offenders may be required to remedy any hazards and pay compensation to the tenant.

Previously, an offence was only committed where the landlord or agent had failed to comply with an Improvement Notice from the local authority. The consequence of this was that defective properties could be legally rented out unless the local authority was notified.

Gas Safety

If the property has gas, it is a legal requirement that a gas certificate is carried out annually by a registered Gas Safe registered engineer who will check each appliance and flue, you will be given you a copy of the gas safety check record for your records and  a copy must be provided to your tenant before they move in, or within 28 days of the check. By law, you must be in possession of the last two years’ worth of certificates at all times.

It is highly important that you get your boiler tested on an annual basis as well, this should in the long run save you money on breakdown costs. Some insurance companies will not pay out if you cannot prove the boiler was looked after if the boiler was to cause a major leak or other issue.

Electrical Safety

As a landlord you have a duty of care to your tenant when it comes to electrical safety, for example sockets and light fittings. You must also ensure that all appliances are safe, for example cookers, microwaves and kettles which are provided. This is why we recommend that you carry out a Portable Appliance Test (PAT test) on all appliances on every tenancy. A mains electric check is recommended every 3 years, this covers all of the hard wiring in the property and includes items such as main panels, distribution boards, lighting, socket outlets and air conditioning.

Fire Safety

You must by law provide a smoke alarm on each storey and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance (for example a coal fire or wood burning stove) and make sure these are maintained. It is recommended that you replace the smoke alarm every 10 years and make sure the furniture and furnishings that you supply are fire safe.

If the property you rent out is a house in multiple occupation (HMO) then you must follow your local council or government guidelines.

Legionnaire’s Disease

Legionnaires’ is a pneumonia-like disease commonly caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water. Landlords must assess and control the risk of exposure of tenants to legionella to ensure the safety of their tenants, but this does not require an in-depth detailed assessment.

Control measures can include:

  • Flushing out the water system before letting the property.
  • Ensure cold water tanks have a tight lid to stop debris getting into the system.
  • Setting control parameters to ensure water is stored at the correct temperature.
  • Remove any unused pipework.

Tenants should be kept informed of any control measures and tell the landlord if problems occur with the water system or if the water is not heating properly.

 

We offer a range of checks to make life easier for every landlord:

  • Gas Safety Certificates
  • Plumbing checks
  • Electrical checks
  • Boiler checks
  • Legionella risk assessment
  • Fire Safety Check

Call our Maintenance Department on 01618348486 to book in your checks