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Landlords Responsibilities - A guide to health and safety obligations

In order to be a landlords who self manages their property you need to be au fait with your responsibilities to health and safety, repair obligations as well as the 150+ pieces of legislation, which is an ever growing list.


Gas safety


- These are to be carried out annually on all gas appliances and the gas meter at the property.

- Upon receipt of the certificate check all gas appliances have been listed and are safe to use.

- Check any recommendations the gas engineer has made, the check may not have failed but you may need to do some upgrade work.

- Issue a copy of the new gas safety record to your tenants within 28 days of the check being completed.

- Keep 2 years worth of records on file.

- A gas safety check can be done up to 60 days prior to the expiry date and still keep the existing expiry date.



Electrical safety


In the current law the landlord has a duty of care to ensure the electrics are safe, there is no legal obligation to get the electrics checked. The only true, wholeheartedly way to be able to know the electrics are safe is for an electrician to test them. The government will be introducing a mandatory 5 year electrical safety check, we are waiting for more details on what this will entail and when exactly this will come into force, but expecting it to come in around April 2019.


Fire safety


If you wish to leave furnishings in the property they need to contain a fire safe label like the one below.

For more details on what furniture does or doesn't comply please take a look at the below link

https://www.firesafe.org.uk/furniture-and-furnishings-fire-safety-regulations-19881989-and-1993/


Under the The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 all rental properties need to have a working smoke alarm on each liveable floor of the property and a carbon monoxide alarm in each room containing a solid fuel combustion appliance. These alarms need to be tested on the day of move in with a record kept of the test.


Ensure all fire exits are hazard free and usable, for example the communal hallway isn't full of items which in a fire can cause a trip hazard or prevent people escaping or faulty/temperamental locks on a door causing a delay getting out of the property.


Responsibility of repairs


The Landlord and tenant act 1985 Section 11 states the Landlords obligations are:


Repairing obligations in short leases.

(1) In a lease to which this section applies (as to which, see sections 13 and 14) there is implied a covenant by the lessor—

(a) to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes),

(b) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity), and

(c) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water.


Any items such as white goods, curtain poles, toilet roll holder etc. which are in the property at the commencement of the tenancy for tenants to use are for the landlord to repair or replace should they break or need some maintenance during the tenancy. If for reasons you are able to prove that the tenants have damaged the item you are within your rights to ask them to repair/replace or agree the cost of the work to be deducted from the deposit at the end of the tenancy.


For more details on a landlords repair obligation please see one of our previous articles titles 'Understanding your repair obligations as a Landlord' click here


The housing health and safety rating system


The HHSRS is a rating system the council uses to asses the hazards within a property, they use a category rating system to list the hazards. Category 1 rated hazards are the most serious that require action ASAP, these are issues such as:

  • Leaking roof

  • Excessive mould

  • Vermin infestation

  • dangerous or broken boiler

  • Exposed wiring or overloaded circuits

(Please note this isn't a full and extensive list)


Enforcement notices


If category 1 hazards are found in a property, the council will write with a list of the defaults and a timescale the work needs to be completed. If this isn't done within the set timescale the council have the authority to prosecute or issue a fine.


For more government info on the HHSRS please see the below links.


https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/9425/150940.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/15810/142631.pdf


I hope the above has been of use to you, if you do have any property related questions please do get in contact.

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