Safety regulations and precautions
Safety regulations and precautions
Here are some safety regulations and precautions that you need to be aware of when you are preparing your property for letting.
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System was introduced under the 2004 Housing Act. It is a risk based evaluation tool, designed to identify potential hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings. Common breaches of this legislation include a lack of extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens, trip hazards such as uneven patio slabs and loosely fitted carpets, or staircases without handrails.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 state that all electrical appliances, both fixed and portable, in rented accommodation must be safe. The only sure method of checking this is to have them all tested and labelled periodically by a qualified electrician.
From 31st October 1994, all gas equipment in rented properties must be serviced and safety checked before a tenancy, and then annually by a Gas Safe registered plumber. Landlords or their agents are responsible for keeping accurate records of works carried out on all appliances in their control, confirmed by an official safety certificate. It is a legal requirement that a Gas Safety Certificate is provided to the tenant annually. Failure to prove that a Gas Safety Certificate along with an EPC, were given to the tenant can effect the ability to serve a Section 21/6A notice of eviction.
New regulations established in 2015 require landlords to have at least one smoke alarm installed on each floor of their properties. Furthermore, a carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (a coal fire, wood burning stove). Landlords must ensure that the alarms are in working order at the start of each tenancy; this applies to all properties, not just to new tenancies.
From October 2006, a detailed fire risk assessment must be carried out to identify any risks or hazards, and any such findings should be eliminated or reduced. This applies to the common parts of blocks of flats and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
Under the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 a landlord who is letting a property is responsible for ensuring that the furniture carries the appropriate fire resistance labels. Bedding, carpets and curtains and furniture manufactured before 1950 falls outside the regulations.
From 1st October 2008, all rental properties with a new tenancy in England and Wales are required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The EPC rates the energy efficiency of a property and its environmental impact. From April 2018, the minimum requirement is rating E.
The EPC survey must be completed prior to marketing a property, and a tenant is required to receive a copy of the report before entering into a Tenancy agreement along with a copy of the Government produced “How to Rent” leaflet. Proof of issue is essential.
From 1st February 2016 it is a requirement that checks are made on all occupiers over the age of 18 and undertaken before any tenancy commences. These checks can be undertaken by either the Landlord or the Landlords Agents and require validation of approved documents as advised by the Home Office. Checks have to be made face to face with documents verified, copied and retained. Landlords or Agents have an obligation to confirm that all tenants have the right to reside in the UK by inspecting their current passport or visa.
In 2015, the Section 21 document has become a prescribed form and there are new rules which apply when serving notice. It should be noted that Section 21 is now only valid for six months and cannot be served before the first four months of the tenancy expiration. During a periodic tenancy, it is sufficient to serve two full months’ notice, removing the need to serve in line with renewal dates.
Landlords have a responsibility to undertake a risk assessment on any property they rent out and then have this reviewed on a regular basis. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recognise that whilst there is a duty to assess the risk from exposure to Legionella this does not always require a full in depth detailed assessment. The HSE emphasise that Legionella tests/samples are generally not required for domestic hot water systems, and then only in exceptional circumstances. However, Landlords must ensure that the risk of exposure to tenants and visitors is properly assessed and controlled.
For more information please contact our Lettings Team on 01603 751555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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