Gas and Electrical Safety
The law requires that all appliances are safe and strongly recommends that everything should be independently tested.
Duty of Care demands that all electrical appliances are tested on a regular basis, particularly at the point at which the property becomes available to let.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994 state that supplying unsafe appliances is an offence. In the event of an accident involving electricity the landlord must be able to demonstrate that the supply and appliances are safe. This can only be done if they have been independently tested.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 state that all let and managed properties must be tested annually for safety. Only Gas Safe registered businesses with Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) qualified engineers are authorised to carry out work on gas appliances and piping.
We recommend only fully qualified contractors to carry out electrical and gas safety checks. We are happy to handle this on your behalf.
We recommend battery operated smoke alarms are installed. (Once installed, responsibility for replacing the battery passes to the tenant.)
Failure to comply with regulations can result in hefty fines and in some extreme cases, imprisonment.
Fire and Furnishings Regulations
Since 1st January 1997, all furniture provided in furnished rented accommodation – houses, flats, bedsits – must meet the fire resistance requirements of the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1998.
The regulations apply to any of the following upholstered items:
- Beds, mattresses and headboards
- Sofa beds, futons and any other convertibles
- Loose and stretch covers for furniture
- Nursery furniture
- Scatter cushions, seat covers and pillows
The regulations do not apply to:
- Sleeping bags or loose covers for mattresses
- Bedclothes – including duvets and pillowcases
We cannot let any property containing non-compliant furniture. All items must carry a permanent label as proof that items are compliant with the regulations. If you need help, your Reeds Rains consultant will be able to advise you.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Since October 2008 all private residential property available for let is required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).An EPC is a legal requirement for new lets and is valid for 10 years.
All tenants must be provided with a copy of the EPC at the start of the tenancy. Grants may be available to tenants in receipt of Local Housing Allowance for some of the improvements mentioned in the report.
Landlords are not under obligation to act on the EPC, but doing so may make your property more attractive to potential tenants. If you would like to instruct us on your EPC, simply call us on 01260 294 680 * and we will make the necessary arrangements.
More information is available on the Government’s EPC website – www.direct.gov.uk/EPC
Legionella Risk Assessment
Legionella is a potentially fatal illness like pneumonia which can be caught by inhaling bacteria generated by hot and cold water heating systems including storage tanks which are not functioning properly or have been stagnant for some time. The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the control of Substances Hazardous to Health 1999 have recently changed and the Control of Legionella bacteria in Water Systems Approved Code of Practice (“ACOP L8”), now applies to domestic living. It is recommended that all landlords of residential rental properties have a Legionella Risk Assessment completed every two years to comply with the law.
Tenants over the age of 45, smokers or heavy drinkers, or those suffering from respiratory or kidney disease or immune system problems, might be considered particularly vulnerable.
We can introduce you to an expert who can assess your property for Legionella and provide you with a report.
Mandatory HMO Licences
If you own a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) – a rented property with shared facilities, you may need a licence to let. A licence is required if the HMO has:
- Three or more storeys
- Five or more tenants forming more than one household
- Carpets and curtains
We can offer advice on this or have a look at these useful websites:
Right to Rent checks
The Right to Rent scheme, which helps to make sure that people renting property in the UK have a legal right to be here, was rolled out across England in February 2016. This law means that landlords or their letting agents must carry out identity checks on every tenant before they sign a tenancy agreement. If we don’t currently handle tenant checks for you, we’d be very happy to discuss how we can help you with this.