Landlords have a number of serious responsibilities regarding the safety of the property they are renting out to their tenants, which can be broken down into the following areas:
All furniture and furnishing need to meet strict criteria laid out in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 and 1993). Under these regulations, all upholstered items, including beds and sofas, must have fire resistant filling and have passed a match resistance test.
Cover fabrics and filling materials must also have passed a cigarette resistance test. Most items should have a compliance code on them or proof they have been fire- safety tested. As a general rule items bought before 1988 may need to be replaced.The regulations apply to pillows, beds, sofas, armchairs and nursery furniture but not antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, duvets, curtains and carpets.
Landlords are also required to ensure that any gas boilers and other equipment are serviced once a year. Records must be kept of the condition of the equipment and gas safety checks.
A landlord is also legally required to provide a tenant with an annual gas safety certificate. The service must be carried out by a contractor registered with Gas Safe. The relevant law is The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998.
The electrical wiring in the property must also be safe and in good working order and smoke alarms need to be fitted and work properly.
Wiring that is more than 15 years old needs to be inspected annually. To assess electrical safety, a landlord must ensure they use an electrician who is approved through the Part ‘P’ Competent Person Scheme. The relevant law regarding electrical safety for landlords is The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and Smoke Detectors Act 1991.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
It is a legal requirement for Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted. However, we strongly advise all landlords to consider the installation of such alarms to protect the tenants and help prevent any legal action being taken against them should the worst happen.
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