Health and Safety & Other Legal Requirements
The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord). Where you have signed our Full Management Agency Agreement, they are also our responsibility. Therefore where we are managing we will need to ensure compliance.
GAS – Annual Safety Check: Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter at least every 12 months by a competent engineer (e.g. a GAS SAFE registered gas installer).
Copies to tenants: A copy of the safety certificate issued by the engineer must be given to each new tenant before their tenancy commences, or to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being carried out.
ELECTRICAL: There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety, and it is the Landlords to ensure that the electrical installation and all electrical appliances are safe and in full working order, complying with all relevant regulations.
Although with tenanted property there is currently no legal requirement for an electrical safety certificate. It is now widely accepted in the letting industry that the only safe way to ensure safety and to avoid the risk of being accused of neglecting your ‘duty of care’ is to arrange such an inspection and certificate.
FIRE: The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistance standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, pillows and non-original covers for furniture. Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.
SMOKE ALARMS – All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new. Although there is no legislation requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in other ordinary tenanted properties, it is generally considered that the common law ‘duty of care’ means that Landlords and their Agents could be liable should a fire cause injury or damage in a tenanted property where smoke alarms are not fitted. We therefore recommend that the landlord fit at least one alarm on each floor (in the hall and landing areas).
CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS
From the 1st October 2015 regulations require carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with a solid fuel appliance. The Regulations apply both to houses and flats.
WATER TESTING (LEGIONELLA RISK ASSESSMENT)
Landlords of domestic rental properties, whilst there is a duty to assess the risk from exposure to Legionella to ensure the safety of their tenants, this does not require an in-depth, detailed assessment. The risks from hot and cold water systems in most residential settings are generally considered to be low owing to regular water usage and turnover. A typical ‘low risk’ example may be found in a small building (eg housing unit) with small domestic-type water systems, where daily water usage is inevitable and sufficient to turn over the entire system; where cold water is directly from a wholesome mains supply (no stored water tanks); where hot water is fed from instantaneous heaters or low volume water heaters (supplying outlets at 50 °C); and where the only outlets are toilets and wash hand basins.
A simple assessment may show that there are no real risks and are being properly managed and no further action is needed. It is important to review the assessment in case anything changes in the system.
THE TENANCY DEPOSIT SCHEME: From April 2007, all Deposits taken by Landlords and Letting Agents under Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST’s) in England and Wales must be protected by a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. Landlords must not take a deposit unless it is dealt with under a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. To avoid any disputes going to court, each scheme will be supported by an alternative dispute resolution service (ADR)
ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATE: From October 2008 there is a LEGAL requirement for all rented properties to have an Environmental Performance Certificate (EPC). The certificate is valid for 10 years and is a means of rating the efficiency of your property. There is no Legal requirement to improve the efficiency of your property although the certificate will offer recommendations to increase the rating of the property.