Health & safety and other legal requirements
The following requirements are the responsibility of the landlord. When we are managing the property they also become our responsibility and therefore our involvement in overseeing compliance may mean a cost to you.
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 then at least every 12 months by a CORGI registered gas installer.
Gas safety in Great Britain is changing. CORGI gas registration ends in Great Britain on 31 March and will no longer apply to gas safety law. From 1 April, all gas engineers must be on the new Gas Safe Register™ to carry out gas work lawfully.
The requirement for annual maintenance and safety checks on gas appliances hasn't changed but landlords should make sure from 1 April these are carried out by a Gas Safe Register engineer. By law landlords must make sure:
- Pipe work, appliances and flues provided for tenants are maintained in a safe condition
- That all appliances and flues that you provide for tenants use have an annual safety check
- That maintenance and annual safety checks are carried out by an engineer registered with Gas Safe Register
- All gas equipment (including any appliance left by a previous tenant) is safe or otherwise removed before re-letting
- A record of safety checks is provided to the tenant within 28 days of completing the check or to any new tenant before they move in
- They keep a copy of the safety check record for two years
From 1 April you can find or check a Gas Safe Register engineer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week online at www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500. You can even get a photo of the engineer with details that tell you if they're qualified to do the job sent to your mobile phone for added peace of mind. Remember to check the engineer's ID and encourage your tenants to do the same.
Landlords should provide tenants with a record of safety checks. This is often done using a ‘Landlord Gas Safety Record', often referred to as a ‘Gas Safety Certificate' or ‘CP12' form. It is quite acceptable to continue to use this style of certificate – even if it has a CORGI logo or the word CORGI on it. There is no requirement for new paperwork. The important thing is to have a check carried out and to make sure the tenant receives a record of the check within 28 days.
Gas Safe Register will run a national public awareness campaign starting in February 2009. From April, the Gas Safe Register website will carry a wealth of gas safety information too.
Remember before April installers must remain registered with CORGI to carry out gas work legally. From 1 April, always use a Gas Safe Register engineer. Be gas safe. For more information go to www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk
There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety and these affect landlords and their agents.They include:
- Electrical equipment (safety) regulations 1994
- Plugs and sockets regulations 1994
- The 2005 building regulation – Part P
- British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets
Currently, there is no legal requirement for electrical safety certificates except in the case of Houses in Multiple Occupancy. The only way to ensure safety and avoid the risk off neglecting your ‘duty of care' is to arrange for an inspection and certificate.
The Furniture and furnishings (Fire Safety) regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) state 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. They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags. Items that comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.
The 1991 Smoke detectors act requires that all new houses built since 1992 must by law have a smoke detector installed. The minimum requirement is for one smoke alarm on each level of the building. This legislation applies to all new buildings. 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 strongly recommend that the landlord fit at least one alarm on each floor, usually in the hall and landing areas.
However, if an agent installs smoke alarms into managed properties or they were already installed when a tenancy commenced, the letting agreement must make it clear who is responsible for the maintenance of the detectors, including testing and battery replacement. Failure to specify responsibility in the letting agreement may mean the landlord or agent would be deemed responsible and be held liable should a fire happen.
Please note that there are different and more stringent rules covering Houses in Multiple Occupation with regard to the installation and maintenance of smoke detectors and other fire prevention measures.
Is your property a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?
If your property is on three or more levels and/or let to five or more tenants comprising two or more households (in other words, not all of the same family), it will be subject to mandatory licensing by your local authority. Whether mandatory licensing as above applies or not, if there are three or more tenants who are not all related in any property, it is still likely to be classified as an HMO and special management rules apply. To learn please contact us.
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
The HHSRS provides an analysis of how hazardous a property is through an assessment of 29 potential hazards found in housing. Landlords have to maintain their properties to provide a safe and healthy environment.
The Disability Discrimination Act 2005
The DDA 2005 addresses the limitations of current legislation by extending disabled people's rights in respect of premises that are let or to be let. Landlords and managers will be required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people should a request be made and certain conditions met. Failure to do so will be unlawful unless it can be justified under the Act. Landlords will only have to make reasonable adjustments, which will not involve the removal or alteration of physical features of the premises. For more information on the Provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005