Safety regulations and safety advice for rented property

Safety Regulations and Compliance

Landlords have the responsibility for the safety of both the Tenant and their own property during the Tenancy. The following regulations must be adhered to without fail by the Landlord and as Agents we must ensure that they are carried out.

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988

(as amended in 1989 and 1993)

The original regulations introduced in 1988 ensured that all manufacturers, importers, suppliers and upholsterers of soft furnishings and furniture only supply items that use fire retardant filling materials and fabrics. In addition, all furnishings sold or supplied must carry a permanent label. The amendments in 1993 included furniture supplied in rented accommodation. The regulations apply to the following items: beds, mattresses, sofas, armchairs, nursery furniture, cushions, seat pads, pillows and loose and stretch covers for furniture.

Items of furniture made prior to 1950 are termed as antiques and as such are excluded from the regulations.

Failure to comply with these regulations now carries a heavy penalty of £5,000 or a six month prison sentence if not adhered to.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998

These regulations came into effect 31st October 1994 to ensure that gas appliances are properly installed and maintained in a safe condition so as to avoid the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is the responsibility of landlords to ensure all gas appliances and gas installation pipework owned by them are checked for safety at least once a year by a member of the council for registered gas installers (Gas Safe).

In addition accurate records of the safety inspections and any work carried out must be kept. The current safety certificate must always be available for any tenant prior to them taking occupation of a property. Faulty equipment can lead to death and a conviction of unlawful killing on a landlord.

Under the regulations any appliance that does not conform can be disconnected.

Revised guidance took effect on 1st January 2011and requires inspection hatches to be fitted in properties where the flue is concealed within voids and cannot be inspected. Any gas engineer working on affected systems after 1st January 2013 will advise the homeowner that the system is “at risk” (AR) and, with the owner’s permission will turn off the gas supply to the boiler so it cannot be used

Electrical Installation

At present there is no definitive Act that demands that electrical certification is compulsory for rented accommodation. However, within law the Landlord is responsible in all respects to ensure that the property is ‘Safe To Let’. For this reason, you could still be considered to be criminally negligent if anything happens to a tenant as a result of faulty electrical equipment. Therefore, we strongly advise that an inspection is undertaken on all rental properties that are more than 5 years old or recently purchased. As your agents we can arrange for a safety check to be carried out by a recommended qualified contractor.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

These regulations require that all Electrical equipment left at the property be ``safe and of no risk or injury to people or pets``. They should be checked that flexes, fuses and electrical output are safe and correct. Items that must comply are all portable electrical items such as electric cooker, fridge’s, washing machines, kettles, toasters etc. As agents we have a qualified member of staff who can provide Portable Appliance Tests (PAT Tests) on small domestic appliances. For fitted or fixed appliances we recommend that these are checked by a qualified electrician.

Smoke Alarms

Since 1st October 2015 all rented properties are covered by regulations which require smoke alarms to be fitted, at least one on each floor. Battery operated smoke alarms will be adequate.  At the commencement of the tenancy and they must be tested to ensure they are in good working order on the first day of the tenancy and, thereafter, the tenant is responsible for the upkeep of the alarm and the landlord (or their agent) must check them annually.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms

Since 1st October 2015 it has been a legal requirement to ensure that a CO alarm is fitted in close proximity to any solid fuel appliance, and that this alarm is tested annually and the test is confirmed by the tenant.

Legionella

As a landlord you must understand the health risks associated with Legionella because you are responsible for the health and safety of your tenant and need to take the right precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to Legionella.  In the first instance you should understand the water system in your rented property, the equipment associated with the system such as pumps, heat exchangers, showers etc and its constituent parts.  You must then identify whether they are likely to create a risk from exposure to Legionella, and whether any of the following apply to you:

• Water is stored or recalculated as part of your system
• The water temp in all or some parts of the system is between 20-45℃
• There are sources of nutrients such as rust, sludge, scale and organic matter
• The conditions are likely to encourage bacteria to multiply
• It is possible for water droplets to be produced
• It is likely that any of your tenants are more susceptible to infection due to age, illness or a weakened immune system

We are able to advise comprehensively on this matter.

Asbestos

The landlord of a tenanted property has a legal responsibility to manage the risk associated with any asbestos present in the property. Depending on the condition of the asbestos, one or more of the following actions should be taken:
• Labelling the asbestos
• Sealing the asbestos
• Removing the asbestos

Great care should be taken when doing any work around asbestos. The HSE or your local authority can give detailed advice about safe procedures. Please note that any work done on the asbestos, that takes longer than 2 hours, must be done by someone who is licensed by the HSE (Health and Safety Executive).

If you believe that you have asbestos in your property then please let us know immediately. We can recommend a specialist contractor to carry out a full inspection and provide you with the necessary recommendations.