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Safety Responsibilities – It’s More Than Smoke Alarms and Gas Checks

When it comes to being a responsible landlord, the most importance must be put on the safety of tenants. There are around 150 laws now that apply to landlords when they come to letting a property.

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Regulations - England & Wales

As of 1 October 2015, it has been a legal requirement that all rental properties in England must adhere to Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Regulations.

The regulations require at least one smoke alarm to be installed on every floor of the property on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation and a carbon monoxide alarm installed in any room which contains a solid fuel burning appliance (such as wood burner, coal fire or biomass).

Checks must be made by the landlord (or letting agent) to make sure that each alarm is in proper working order on the first day of the tenancy. 

In Wales, it is best practice for landlords to provide a carbon monoxide alarm in all rooms where a gas, oil or solid fuel appliance is present.  Landlords and agents should ensure the safety of any solid fuel and oil heating installations. They should carry out appropriate routine maintenance, including the sweeping of chimneys and flues.

Properties built after 1992 must be fitted with mains-powered, interlinked smoke alarms (on every floor of the property). In older properties, landlords are advised to provide at least battery operated alarms. 

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide detectors – Scotland

From 1 December 2015 landlords must ensure that all properties they let to tenants have a carbon monoxide detector fitted regardless of when the tenancy started. 

Landlords should have a long-life battery or mains-powered detector (which complies with British Standards and European directives) in each room housing a carbon based fuel appliance (excluding those used solely for cooking) and in any living room or bedroom if a flue from these appliances runs through it.

By law, your landlord must provide fire-detection equipment for your property. There should be at least:

  • One working smoke alarm in the room which is frequently used by tenants for daytime living purposes.
  • One functioning smoke alarm in every circulation space, such as hallways and landings.
  • One heat alarm in every kitchen
  • All alarms should be interlinked.  

A smoke alarm installed from 3 September 2007 must be mains powered. All battery-powered fire alarms should be hardwired when they are replaced.   

Gas Safety

Landlords in the UK are legally responsible for the safety of their tenants. Landlords should make sure maintenance and annual safety checks on gas appliances are carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

Landlords are legally responsible for the safety of their tenants. Landlords should make sure maintenance and annual safety checks on gas appliances are carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

The Gas Safe Register is the official list of qualified gas engineers who are legally permitted to fit, fix or service a gas appliance. By law, all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register.

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 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 gas safety record 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 gas safety record for two years

Electrical Safety

Landlords have a legal duty to ensure that their rental property, and any electrical equipment provided, is safe before a tenancy begins and throughout its duration. They must ensure:

  • The electrical system is safe, e.g. socket, switches and light fittings.
  • All appliances they supply are safe, e.g. cookers and kettles.

Tenants should flag electrical problems as soon as they arise, as well as maintain any electrical items they bring into the house.

Landlords should provide you with a record of any electrical inspections. Tests are recommended to be carried out by a registered electrician at least every five years. Landlords are also responsible for communal areas of a house, block of flats, or estate that residents use in common with other tenants e.g. landings and kitchens.    

In Scotland, from 1 December 2015, it is a legal requirement for landlords to carry out electrical safety inspections for all new tenancies (it applies to existing tenancies from 1 December 2016). There are two parts:

  1. An inspection of installations, fixtures and fittings.
  2. A record of testing of appliances provided by the landlord.

Tenants must be given a copy of the inspection when it is done (new tenants must be given a copy of the most recent) and tests must be carried out at least every five years. Landlords should ensure tests are carried out by a competent person.

If you are looking for electrical safety advice please visit electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk

 

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