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

When it comes to being a responsible landlord, you must put the safety of your tenants at the top of your priorities. There are around 150 laws that apply to landlords when you're letting out a property.

SMOKE & CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS

England

It is a legal requirement that all rental properties in England follow the 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).

You or your letting agent must make sure that each alarm is in proper working order on the first day of a new tenancy. 

The Government have created some general guidance to help landlords understand the regulations that can be found on gov.uk.

Wales

It's best practice for landlords to provide a carbon monoxide alarm in all rooms where a gas, oil or solid fuel appliance is present. 

As the landlord, you or your agent should make sure that any solid fuel and oil heating installations are safe. You should also carry out 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. 

Scotland

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.   

For more information please visit gov.scot to read the official Scottish Government guidance.

 

GAS SAFETY

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

For more information on the Gas Safe Register watch the video below:

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 need to be Gas Safe Registered.

By law you 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

Gas Safe Register has further advice if you're looking to learn more about your gas safety responsibilities.

 

ELECTRICAL SAFETY

As the Landlord, you have a legal duty to ensure that your rental property, and any electrical equipment that you have provided, is safe before a tenancy begins and throughout its duration.

You must ensure that:

  • 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 appear, and they have the responsibility to maintain any electrical items that they bring into the property.

It is recommended that tests are carried out by a registered electrician at least every five years and you should provide your tenants with a record of any electrical inspections.

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.    

Scotland

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.

You must give your Tenants 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. 

You should ensure that the 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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