Landlords have many obligations to adhere to when renting out their buy-to-let properties. But health and safety of tenants is right at the top of the list.
All landlords should draw up a health and safety checklist based around the following areas of health and safety before a tenant moves in.
* Gas safety
* Electrical safety
* Fire safety
Landlords must ensure gas supplies and appliances are installed by a Gas Safe-registered engineer. Gas Safe engineers carry ID cards and have a licence number which confirms what work they are qualified to undertake.
You must also ensure yearly checks are carried out on all gas appliances and flues and even if your tenant has supplied a gas appliance of their own, you are responsible for making sure the gas pipework is safe.
One of the biggest changes under the Deregulation Act 2015, which came into force that year but now affects all assured shorthold tenancies, revolves around gas safety certificates.
Landlords must ensure all tenants are issued with a copy of the certificate PRIOR to commencing their tenancy agreement.
And finally, landlords must advise tenants on how to turn off the gas supply in the event of an emergency and who to contact in such a scenario.
As with gas safety, you responsibility as a landlord is to ensure electrical systems and appliances in your buy-to-let property are safe for tenants to use.
Faulty or tired old wiring systems are one of the biggest causes of electrical fires so being on top of electrical safety in your rental property is absolutely crucial.
As well as being safe when tenants move in, electrical systems must be adequately maintained throughout the course of the tenancy. Wiring, sockets, lights and kitchen electrics should all be checked by a qualified electrician and tested at least every five years or at each change of tenancy.
And remember: Appliances must carry the 'CE' mark which proves they meet EU regulations on electrical safety.
Strict legislation requires all landlords to undertake a fire risk assessment in all areas of their buy-to-let property. Properties must be safe for tenants to live in and have clear escape routes in the event of a fire.
The risk assessment is a requirement as part of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and means landlords must:
* Establish fire risks (I.e furnishings, stairways or bad electrics)
* Consider who is at risk (tenants and visitors, contractors)
* Take appropriate steps to control (improve escape routes, install smoke alarms)
* Take a record of the risk assessment findings
* Review the risk assessment and update it regularly (at the start of each tenancy or if the building is altered in any way)
As well as the fire risk assessment landlords must:
* Use appropriate signage telling tenants what to do in the event of a fire
* Place a fire action notice detailing the actions to be taken in a fire in the shared areas of the property
* Identifying the risks (I.e water temperatures)
* Considering who is at risk (tenants, visitors, contractors)
* Implementing control procedures (keeping water hot and removing impurities)
* Recording the findings of the assessment
* Reviewing and updating the assessment regularly
Thinking of renting out a property and need advice on where to start? Give Martin & Co Camberley a call and chat to one of our local property lettings experts.