Which Safety Checks are Landlords Responsible For?
Getting the keys to a new property is exciting and marks the start of a new chapter in your life, and it’s just as exciting if you’re renting your home as it is for buying. One of the added benefits of renting a property is that your landlord is the person responsible for much of the maintenance of your home, and one of the elements included in this is the safety checks prior to your move-in date.
However, as a landlord, are you aware of what those safety checks are and what you’re responsible for? From fire safety to checking that any furniture included in the lease is fit for purpose, here’s a rundown of the checks landlords need to be aware of.
Fire Safety Regulations for Furniture and Furnishings
If you’re renting out a furnished property, you have a responsibility to check that the furniture and upholstery meets minimum fire standards, especially if the property is a house of multiple occupation. You will need to arrange a fire risk assessment to check whether the items you have in place are safe and all items need to have their original fire safety tags attached.
There should also be checks made to fire extinguishers by a trained fire extinguisher service engineer – landlords need to have a fire extinguisher on each floor of the property if it’s an HMO (House of Multiple Occupations), as well as a fire blanket in the kitchen. Make sure that there are no fuse boxes hidden, there are clear fire exits and that exterior doors can be opened from the inside without a key.
2020 saw some changes to landlord regulations in the UK, the most prominent of which was a change to the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector Regulations 2020. It’s now a legal requirement for landlords to conduct electrical safety checks every five years by a qualified professional.
Another change that landlords need to be aware of is that all new and existing tenancies need to have an energy efficiency rating of a minimum of E. You’ll need to share a copy of the Electrical Installation Condition Report with your tenants, within 28 days of the assessment taking place, and if there are works required as a result of the inspection, these have to take place within 28 days too.
Gas appliances and pipework, as well as flues and chimneys, all need to be working properly and efficiently, as outlined in the Gas Safety Regulations 1998. Any inspections of the property need to be carried out by a gas safe-registered engineer and a copy of the safety record and any findings need to be supplied to the tenant within 28 days.
Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If you have someone new moving into the property, you need to test all alarms in the building, and this has to be done on the first day of their tenancy. It doesn’t matter if they are mains or battery-operated, but battery-operated alarms should be checked regularly to ensure they’re still working. After they’ve moved in, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to test alarms – ideally each month – and the landlord’s responsibility to replace them if they stop functioning.
Locks and Security Checks
There will be, at most, three parties who need access to the property – the landlord, the tenant and, if you’re using a management agency, they will also need a key. An HMO will naturally require keys for each of the tenants living in the property. The best way to ensure that a property stays secure and safe is to change the locks each time a tenant moves out, as they may have a copy of their key that they don’t give back.
Landlords should ensure that they check their property regularly – always ensure that you give a minimum of 24 hours written notice to your tenants and that the time of your visit is at a reasonable hour. The key things to keep an eye on as the owner of the building are the wiring, smoke detectors and that fire extinguishers are checked on a regular basis by a certified professional. By maintaining these aspects of the property, you can have peace of mind that both your tenants and the property itself are safe and secure.