Landlord Safety Responsibilities
A landlord has a duty of care to ensure that their property is safe for tenants to live in. This duty is covered by various pieces of legislation as well as the tenancy agreement, which we’ll cover briefly on this page.
Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 inserts obligations into all tenancy agreements. These covenants provide a responsibility for a landlord to:
- To keep in repair and structure and exterior of the dwelling house (including drains gutters and external pipes).
- To keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for the sanitation.
- To keep in repair and proper working order the installations of the dwelling house for space heating and heating water.
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
This is a set of housing standards applicable to all housing types, not just rental properties. This system is applicable under the Housing Act 2004, and is enforced by the Environmental Health Departments of each local authority. The system identifies up to 29 hazards which a homeowner is obliged to guard against, with the general aim of ensuring that property is kept to suitable living standard.
- The provision of a suitable heating, water supply and sanitation systems.
- The provision of adequate lighting.
- Sufficient fire safety provisions
- Protection from accidents such as falls, electrical shocks, cuts and burns.
- Prevention of damp and mould growth.
- Protection from pollutants such as asbestos and carbon monoxide.
- Avoidance of overcrowding
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 state that all rental properties must be tested annually for gas safety. This is carried out in the form of a Gas Safety Certificate and must be carried out be a suitably qualified and Gas Safe registered engineer. At Urban Property Services, we are able to provide Gas Safety Certificates using our panel of Gas Safe registered contractors.
There is no strict legal requirement for electrical safety checks for the electrical installations within a rented property. However, we advise all of our clients that it is important to have these installations tested to ensure that your property is safe for tenants to reside in.
We would advise landlords to carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report (previously known as a periodic test certificate) which is valid for 5 years. This will highlight and defects with the electrical installations at a property.
There is a statutory duty under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, for all electrical appliances to be safe for use. This can be achieved by carrying out Portable Appliance Testing (PAT).
Furniture and Furnishings
All furniture and furnishings provided by a landlord must comply with the terms of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. This means that supplied furniture must have the relevant fire safety compliance labels. These requirements apply to beds, sofas, seating, mattresses, cushions and other furnishing covers. Nearly all modern furniture will pass these requirements, but it’s important to check each item in your property.
Energy Performance Certificate
Under the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012, an Energy Performance Certificate must be made available for any property advertised for sale or for rent. This certificate is designed to show potential renters/purchasers the energy efficiency of the property. Each certificate is valid for a period of 10 years.
HMO (House in Multiple Occupation)
Some HMO’s have a mandatory licensing requirement, which must be applied for from the local authority. Currently, a HMO needs to be licensed if it:
- Consists of three or more storeys and;
- It is occupied by five or more tenants in two of more households.
The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006, has requirements for other types of HMO known as Non-licensable HMO’s, which tend to be under the category of:
- Shared houses
- Some blocks of converted flats
These HMO’s require fire safety equipment to be maintained, electrical installations to be tested every 5 years, and communal areas to be regularly maintained.
For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/private-renting/houses-in-multiple-occupation
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
As of October 2015, all rental properties will require working smoke detectors at the start of a tenancy, and carbon monoxide detectors in properties with solid fuel burning appliances.