In order to let your property, there are a number of health and safety guidelines you must follow to protect you legally and to ensure the safety of the tenants who are residing within the property.
The main risk of not servicing or maintaining gas equipment is a serious gas explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning. Landlords are required by law to service all gas related equipment at least every 12 months. Landlords must also keep a record of regular checks and the condition of equipment at all time. You must also provide tenants with an annual gas safety certificate. If you do not provide your tenant with a gas safety certificate you are breaking the law.
Landlords are also responsible for providing tenants with instructions for the safe use of gas appliances and equipment.
The only businesses legally allowed to service gas appliances and equipment are those registered by CORGI. You should ask to see a contractor’s registration certificate before allowing them to conduct any work on the property. Check the CORGI website to make sure all contractors you use are registered.
The electrical wiring in your property must be safe and in good working order throughout. You must also make sure you have enough sockets to meet the needs of the tenants. Contact an electrician approved by the NICEIC (National Inspection Council For Electrical Inspection Contractors).
Wiring that is more than 15 years old should be inspected on an annual basis. Wiring that is more recent can be left for longer periods if there are no indications of any problems. An electrician’s report is likely to recommend a re-inspection in between two and ten years, although it is sensible to have these checks more frequently.
If you are planning on providing electrical equipment to your tenants, you should ensure that all items are regularly tested for safety and labelled accordingly. Get an electrican to make the necessary checks before each let and then periodically after that. Keep all electrical testing reports for your records.
Regulations regarding fire-resistant furniture are strict for rental accommodation and you must make sure all relevant items meet the guidelines set under the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Amendment Regulations 1993. It is advised that, as a general guide, furniture made before 1988 is unlikely to meet the necessary standards and should be replaced before letting your property. Any items that contain upholstery, and could be used inside the property, should be checked, including:
Items that are exempt from this legislation include:
In order to check items for the fire safety standards, look for a permanent label stating the regulation it conforms to. Bed bases and mattresses are not required to have this label attached but they should have a label stating compience with ignitability tests. Look for the compliance code BS 7177 on these items for confirmation.
If you are in any doubt that certain items may not meet the required standard, replace them. There are substantial fines and even prison sentences imposed should an accident occur.