Are your properties up to standard? How to keep within the law
If you’re a landlord or invest heavily in the property market like First Urban, you’ll know that it is a legal duty to make sure that any property let out to tenants complies with a number of safety regulations. It is important that you keep the property safe for your tenants and know exactly how you should be doing this to avoid disputes further down the line. Below is a list of some of the main obligations you need to comply with to ensure your properties are up to standard:
Gas safety According to This is Money, one in five part-time landlords have either failed to hire an expert to perform a gas safety check on their property in the last year, or have used a contractor who is not Gas Safe-registered. Don’t make this mistake. You must make sure that all gas equipment in the property is safely installed by a professional and maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer. They should carry out an annual gas safety check on appliances and give you a copy of the record which you should also share with the tenant.
Electrical safety Before a tenant moves in, electrical safety checks should be carried out by a qualified electrician to ensure that all electrical systems and appliances are safe and meet legal requirements. The necessary records should be obtained and passed on to the tenant where needed.
Fire safety To meet the standards for fire safety, you must follow relevant safety regulations, provide smoke alarm on all levels and carbon monoxide detectors if rooms contain a solid fuel burning appliance. You should also ensure that there is easy access to escape routes within the property and check that any furniture and furnishings you provide as part of the tenancy comply with fire safety regulations.
According to the Herts Advertiser, 43 per cent of landlords are unclear on what their current responsibilities are when it comes to repairing their property. It is your duty to perform repairs to ensure the property is structurally sound and free from disrepair. Among others, the following repair responsibilities are all yours:
- The structure and exterior of the property including walls, windows and doors
- Sinks, baths and sanitary fittings including pipes and drains
- Heating and hot water
- Gas appliances and ventilation
- Electrical wiring
- Any damage caused by attempting repairs
- Faulty items or appliances such as a fridge or washing machine
Energy Performance Certificate
All tenants must have a copy of the property’s Energy Performance Certificate. The EPC lasts for ten years and is a rating for the energy performance of the property and recommendations for improving it.
To enhance security of the property in order to reduce burglaries and potential damage, you should provide locks and keys in good working order. While it isn’t legally required, it is in your interest to fit burglar alarms and security lights to best protect your property and this will also help increase its value.