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Landlord Responsibilities & Safety Regulations

It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the property that is being let is compliant with a number of safety regulations. Below are some of the regulations and legislation which landlords should be aware of when looking to rent property within the UK. The landlord responsibilities can be split into four categories; electrical safety, gas safety, furniture and furnishings and building regulations. When letting your property you must ensure that your property complies with the following legislation:

(For full details of current legislation visit http://www.communities.gov.uk/)

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

  • Electrical supply and appliances within a property must be ‘safe’.
  • All electrical appliances must be checked at regular intervals for defects (eg frayed wiring, badly fitted plugs etc.).
  • Any unsafe items should be removed from the property prior to offering it for rent.
  • No statutory checking procedure or timescale exists. However, we strongly recommend that all landlords have an annual inspection of electrical appliances including an annual electrical supply safety check, by a qualified electrical engineer. Records of these checks conducted at the property should be retained and provided for inspection if required.
  • Smoke alarms are advised to be fitted to all let properties and should be regularly checked to ensure that they are in full working order.

The Plugs & Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994 (Consumer Protection Act 1987)

  • Any plug, socket or adapter supplied which is intended for domestic use, must comply with the appropriate current regulations.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998

Gas appliances

  • All gas appliances and associated pipework and flues should be maintained to ensure they are safe to use. An annual inspection by a qualified registered Gas Safe gas engineer is now a requirement of law.
  • A Gas Safety Record (GSR) must be kept with the dates of inspection and any defects identified. This record must be provided to the tenant upon signing the tenancy agreement.
  • A gas appliance with an open flue should not be installed in a bedroom.
  • Where the gas meter is installed in a meter box, you should supply the tenant with a suitably labelled key to the box.
  • After work on any gas appliance, a defined series of safety checks must be performed.
  • Instructions for any gas appliance must be left for the tenant.
  • Any gas appliance that is suspected or known to be faulty or incorrectly installed must not be used by anyone and should be removed/replaced or repaired immediately.
  • Ventilation is needed for gas appliances to work correctly and safely. You should take care not to block vents and air bricks.

The Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993

  • These regulations were amended in 1993 and it is now an offence to install any furniture in let properties which does not comply with the regulations.
  • The regulations apply to beds, mattresses and headboards, scatter cushions and pillows, stretch or loose covers for furniture, children’s furniture, garden furniture and any items of similar type fillings of which must carry the appropriate labels of compliance.
  • Upholstered furniture must have fire resistant filling material and must pass a cigarette resistance test.
  • Permanent covers must pass a match resistance test.
  • Furniture in any property which qualifies for the transitional period (ie was let prior to 1st March 1993 and continued to be let), does not have to comply until the tenant who occupied the property prior to 1st January 1997, vacates the property.

Any furniture added to the property since 1st March 1993 must comply with these requirements whether new or second-hand.

The regulations do not apply to:

  • antique furniture or any made before 1st January 1950
  • bedclothes (including duvets and pillowcases)
  • loose covers for mattresses, curtains
  • carpets, sleeping bags, cushion covers

Building Regulations - Part "P" Electrical Safety in Dwellings

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 puts the onus on Landlords to ensure the Building imageelectrical installation in their property is safe when the tenancy begins, and that it is maintained in a safe condition throughout that tenancy. From 1st January 2005, all domestic electric installation work (particularly in kitchens and bathrooms) must be carried out by a Government “Approved” contractor. In addition, electrical contractors will have to verify the work complies with British Standard Safety Requirements (BS7671). Failure to comply with these regulations is a criminal offence and could result in fines of up to £5,000 and/or imprisonment.

Summary of Landlord Responsibilities:

  • Only use “Competent Approved” contractors.
  • Ensure that cracked/damaged sockets or plugs and frayed wiring is made good (1994 Plugs and Sockets Act).
  • Ensure all appliances are safe to use prior to any let - ie cooker/kettle/toaster etc. Property should be inspected and tested at least every 10 years by a “Competent Person”.
  • All socket outlets which may be used for equipment outdoors (eg a lawnmower) should be protected by a Residual Current Device (RCD).
  • Retain copies of any certificates of electrical works carried out.