Landlord Health & Safety Responsibilities
Ensuring the health and safety of employees in the work place is a day to day occurrence but what about their health and safety in the rental property that you have assisted them in finding?
UK landlords have a responsibility for the health & safety of their tenants, though some will try to shirk the responsibility, so knowing what a ‘requirement’ is and what is ‘advised good practice’ is essential. The following are required by law:
Repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances, which include portable appliances. The landlord must ensure there is an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue and keep a record of each safety check performed. At the commencement of the tenancy a copy of the Gas Safety Record (previously called ‘certificate’) must be supplied to the tenant, once expired a new certificates must be supplied within 28 days. The landlords name and address, or the managing agents, must be included on the Gas Safety Record.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms
The landlord must install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room where solid fuel is used eg. coal fire, wood burning stove/fire. The landlord is responsible for ensuring the alarm is in working order at the start of the tenancy and the tenant should take responsibility for their own safety and test all alarms regularly to make sure they are in working order. Testing monthly is generally considered an appropriate frequency for testing alarms. It is not a requirement to have a CO alarm fitted in a room with a gas appliance. However, as gas appliances can emit carbon monoxide, we recommend tenants to purchase an alarm which carries the British Standards EN 50291 and carries the British or European approval mark, such as Kitemark. Alarms cost from £15 and can be purchased from most hardware stores.
The landlord must ensure at least one smoke alarm is installed on every floor of the property. The landlord is responsible for ensuring the alarm is in working order at the start of the tenancy, the tenant should take responsibility for their own safety and test all alarms regularly to make sure they are in working order. Testing monthly is generally considered an appropriate frequency for testing alarms.
It is a legal duty for the landlord to assess and control the risk of exposure to legionella bacteria. An in-depth detailed assessment or sample testing is not a requirement in AST (Assured Short-term Tenancy) rental. Legionella testing is generally not required in domestic hot and cold water systems unless in exceptional circumstances. Simple control measures by the tenant can help control the risk of exposure to legionella such as not adjusting the temperature control on the cylinder and regularly cleaning and disinfect showerheads. Following an absence of one week or more from the property it is recommended that you run all the taps to sufficiently flush out the pipes.
Furniture & Furnishings
All furniture and furnishings must comply with the Furniture & Fire (Fire & Safety) Regulation 1988. All upholstered or part-upholstered furniture is covered by the regulations including mattresses, pillows, and cushions. Each piece of furniture that complies with these regulations should have a rectangular label permanently attached to it with the heading “CARELESSNESS CAUSES FIRE”.
Electrical equipment in furnished privately rented housing which is hired as part of the tenancy agreement is now subject to the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994. These regulations require that electrical equipment must be safe to use and would apply, for example to bedside lamps, televisions, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, portable electrical fires, etc.
As part of our home search packages we ensure that all the above requirements have been met by the landlord and where required, the certificates have been supplied by the landlord or his agent.