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Health & Safety

Gas Safety

Landlords have a responsibility to ensure that all gas installations and appliances are safe to use.

There is a statutory requirement to have an annual check by a registered Gas Safe engineer.

Obviously any works require on the gas safety check need to be completed by the landlord.

Copies of the latest gas safety record (Gas Safety Certificate) have to be provided to tenants before they move in (if they are new tenants) or within 28 days of the check having been completed.

CO & Smoke Alarms

CO alarms have to be installed in any room that is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and that has a solid fuel burning appliance (coal fire, wood burner etc.).

A smoke alarm is required on every storey of a rented property that has a room wholly or partly used as living accommodation.

Landlords must ensure that these alarms are in working order on the day that the tenancy starts.

For the purposes of these regulations a bathroom or lavatory is treated as living accommodation.

Legionnaires Disease

Legionnaires Disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water from man-made hot and cold water systems.

A landlord has a legal duty to ensure the safety of his tenants by keeping the property safe and free from health hazards.

HSE guidance states that whilst landlords should look to assess the risk of exposure to Legionella, this would rarely require a detailed assessment. Smaller domestic buildings are generally considered to be low risk environments for Legionella contamination due to regular usage and turnover. This is especially so where cold water is fed from the mains, and hot water is supplied from instant heaters or low volume water heaters.

Simple steps to ensure that the risk remains low include: -

  • Keeping cold water cold and hot water hot 60 °C.
  • Avoiding debris getting into the system (ensure that tanks have tight fitting lids).
  • Removing any redundant pipework

Electrical

Landlords are required to make sure that all electrical equipment and installations are maintained to prevent injury or damage. The frequency and type of checks will depend on the equipment, the environment in which they are used and the results of previous checks.

A distinction can be made between fixed installations (wiring, sockets, light fittings etc.) and plugged appliances (white goods, kettles, heaters etc.)

It is recommended that the following frequency of testing is followed.

  • Fixed wiring: Once every 5 years. There is a statutory requirement for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to have electrical installations checked every 5 years.
  • Portable Appliance Test: There is no legal obligation to carry out PAT tests. It is left to the discretion of the landlord. Larger non-movable items such as refrigerators and washing machines would typically be tested every 4 years, and portable items such as fans, kettles, toasters etc. perhaps every 2 years.

Furnishings

All furniture and furnishings supplied must comply with the 1988 Furniture & Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations.

These regulations apply to: -

  • Beds, headboards and mattresses
  • Sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles
  • Nursery furniture
  • Garden furniture which is suitable for use in the dwelling
  • Scatter cushions and seat pads
  • Pillows
  • Loose and stretch covers for furniture

They do not apply to: -

  • Furniture made before 1950
  • Bedclothes including duvets
  • Loose covers for mattresses
  • Pillow cases
  • Curtains
  • Carpets
  • Sleeping Bags

Furniture will have a label stating compliance with the regulations. The absence of such a label will be taken to imply non-compliance with the regulations.