It’s time to sit up and take note! When you rent your home, safety is everything.
While it’s your landlord’s responsibility to maintain the property properly, it’s important you’re aware of these duties! That way, you’ll know if they’re upholding their part of the deal.
So, here’s a landlord health and safety checklist to help you stay in the know. Tenants should be just as clued up as their landlords!
Landlord certificates – what they need
So, what certificates do landlords need?
For landlords, there are numerous key certificates they need to have obtained prior to renting out a property. Check that you receive copies, or are notified by a relevant agent, that these are in place.
So, here’s a rental checklist of landlord regulations:
Gas safety certificate
For a landlord, gas safety should be at the top of the priority list.
So, it’s unsurprising that this one is a hugely important landlord safety certificate. Your landlord must make sure gas equipment supplied, safely installed and maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
The landlord is also responsible for ensuring an annual gas safety check takes place on each appliance and flue.
It’s also important for them to provide you with a copy of the gas safety record before you move in. Alternatively, this can be provided 28 days after the check.
Stay safe at home! Ensure your landlord has a gas certificate.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Another of the important landlord requirements is to obtain an EPC before letting out their property. It is their responsibility to do this – not yours!
An EPC will tell you how energy efficient a property is by giving it a rating from A to G. The higher the rating, the better, as this means your fuel bills will be lower.
As of April 2018, a new law was passed that requires all newly let out properties to have a minimum rating of E.
An EPC is a vital landlord legal requirement! Ensure you know what the rating is before you move in.
Landlord safety checks – what are they?
Health and safety inspections are one of the most important steps on the landlord checklist.
There are a few safety checks that need running. If you’re unsure what these are, here’s a rental property maintenance checklist:
Electrical safety check
Unsurprisingly, your landlord is required by law to ensure the electrical system in your property is safe.
This includes individual sockets and light fittings, etc.
All electrical appliances that come with the home (for example cookers and kettles) must be checked. There are clearly defined regulations about the frequency of electrical inspections and tests which all landlords must adhere to.
In June 2020, electrical testing regulations for landlords were introduced for new tenancies. These changes will extend to existing tenancies from 1 April 2021 and are in place to increase tenant safety. The property must be tested every 5 years on, to see if:
- Any electrical installations are overloaded
- There are any potential electric shock risks
- There are any fire hazards
- There’s any defective electrical work
- There’s a lack of earthing or bonding
This covers HMOs too.
There are strict fire regulations for rental properties.
So, when it comes to fire safety, you really don’t want to mess around. Your landlord has legal obligations to follow strict fire safety regulations, including:
- Providing a smoke alarm on each storey of the property. These must be tested and working at the start of each tenancy
- A carbon monoxide alarm must also be fitted in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance
- The landlord also needs to have checked you have access to an escape at all times
- All furnishings or items of furniture which come with the property must be fire resistant and marked as such. There are separate rules which require landlords to supply fire alarms and extinguishers for HMOs (house in multiple occupation)
- There are also fire door regulations in a rented property
As the tenant, you also play a part in this. For example, don’t put up flammable curtains or replace any fire-safe furniture. Always ensure you know your rental property rules and regulations. Usually, these will be stipulated in the tenancy agreement.
Health and safety legislation requires landlords carry out risk assessments for Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionella is a form of bacteria found in water systems, such as central heating. Here, the maintained temperature allows the bacteria to grow, and it can become airborne. The disease it causes is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia.
Tenants also have a role to play in preventing the growth of bacteria. This includes:
- Leaving the temperature of water systems as landlords have set them
- Informing your landlord of any problems with the system
- Cleaning shower heads
- Running the water of any less frequently used systems regularly
You have the right to check with the landlord that there’s proof of compliance with all safety regulations.
Landlord house inspection checklist
Your landlord is legally allowed to access your property. They must serve 24 hours notice, however.
When they visit, they should run health and safety checks at the same time. They’ll be looking out for:
- Damp and mould
- Health hazards, such as overflowing bins
- Rubbish in the garden
- Any issues with water or heating systems
- If the property is well-secured
If you’re not maintaining the property correctly, some health and safety issues might be down to you. This could lead to a deposit deduction at the end of your tenancy.
Therefore, it might be handy to have a tenant checklist to hand. This would help remind you of everything you need to look after!
Other responsibilities of private landlords
Part of the landlord safety inspection checklist is to ensure they do everything by the book.
Health and safety is more than just checking appliances! Let’s dig a little deeper:
Tenancy deposit scheme
By law, you landlord must place your deposit in one of the approved tenancy deposit schemes. This must take place within 30 days of receiving it.
This ensures your deposit will be safe! Plus, if any disputes arise, you’ll have reassurances that any deposit deductions will be justified.
Your landlord must also provide you with information about which scheme your deposit is placed in, along with other specific details.
‘Right to rent’ checks
A tenancy screening is a hugely important process, and should be carried out for all potential tenants.
But, a UK landlord cannot let their property out unless the tenant has ‘right to rent’. For example, they’ll need to be shown proof a prospective tenant is a British citizen.
There are fines for non-compliance! Since 2016, a total of 400 fines have been issued, showing that the issue is taken seriously.
What does a landlord have to provide?
So, what do landlords have to provide for tenants? Time for a quick recap:
- An EPC
- Proof of safety checks
- Information regarding the tenancy deposit scheme
It may seem that rules around private rented properties are overly strict. However, they’re essential for protecting both the landlord’s investment, and the tenants themselves.
If you’re aware of the UK’s landlord obligations, this will help ensure you have the happiest, safest tenancy possible.
Ensure your landlord is ticking the boxes of the property checklist!
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