Rules And Regulations
Important Safety Requirements
The following requirements are the responsibility of the owner (Landlord). Where you have signed our Full Management Agency Agreement, they are also our responsibility. Therefore where we are managing we will need to ensure compliance.
Health and Safety – Gas
Annual safety check – Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter at least every 12 months by a competent engineer (e.g. a Gas Safe registered gas installer).
Maintenance: There is a duty to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipework are maintained in a safe condition at all times.
Records: Full records must be kept for at least 2 years of the inspections of each appliance and flue, of any defects found and of any remedial action taken.
Copies to tenants: A copy of the safety certificate issued by the engineer must be given to each new tenant before their tenancy commences, or to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being carried out.
Health and Safety – Electrical
There are several regulations relating to electrical installations, equipment and appliance safety, and these affect landlords and their agents in that they are ‘supplying in the course of business’. They include the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994, the 2005 Building Regulation – ‘Part P, and British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets.
Although with tenanted property there is currently no specific legal requirement for a qualified electrician to carry out an inspection and issue a safety certificate (as exists in the case of gas appliances), it is now widely accepted in the letting industry that the only safe way to ensure safety, and to avoid the risk of being accused of neglecting your ‘duty of care’, or even of manslaughter is to arrange such an inspection and certificate. Please note that should there be an accident involving the electrics, the landlord would be deemed guilty until they can prove their innocence. Therefore we recommend that electrical testing is carried out prior to occupation by a tenant.
Any unsafe items should be removed from the property prior to offering it for rent.
Consumer Protection – Fire
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (amended 1989 & 1993) provide that specified items supplied in the course of letting property must meet minimum fire resistance standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture, beds, headboards and mattresses, sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling, scatter cushions, pillows and non-original covers for furniture. They do not apply to antique furniture or furniture made before 1950, bedcovers including duvets, loose covers for mattresses, pillowcases, curtains, carpets or sleeping bags.
Items which comply will have a suitable permanent label attached. Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.
The Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1993 – These regulations were amended in 1993 and it is now an offence to install any furniture in let properties which does not comply with the regulations.
The regulations apply to beds, mattresses and headboards, scatter cushions and pillows, stretch or loose covers for furniture, children’s furniture, garden furniture and any items of similar type fillings of which must carry the appropriate labels of compliance.
Upholstered furniture must have fire resistant filling material and must pass a cigarette resistance test.
Permanent covers must pass a match resistance test.
Furniture in any property which qualifies for the transitional period (i.e. was let prior to 1st March 1993 and continued to be let), does not have to comply until the tenant who occupied the property prior to 1st January 1997, vacates the property.
Any furniture added to the property since 1st March 1993 must comply with these requirements whether new or second-hand. The regulations do not apply to: Antique furniture or any made before 1st January 1950. Bedclothes (including duvets and pillowcases) Loose covers for Mattresses, Curtains. Carpets, Sleeping Bags, and Cushion Covers.
Building Regulations – Part “P” Electrical Safety in Dwellings the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 puts the onus on Landlords to ensure the Building image electrical installation in their property is safe when the tenancy begins, and that it is maintained in a safe condition throughout that tenancy. From 1st January 2005, all domestic electric installation work (particularly in kitchens and bathrooms) must be carried out by a Government “Approved” contractor. In addition, electrical contractors will have to verify the work complies with British Standard Safety Requirements (BS7671). Failure to comply with these regulations is a criminal offence and could result in fines of up to £5,000 and/or imprisonment.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) came into effect in October 2006 and replaced over 70 pieces of fire safety law.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 places specific fire safety duties on persons who have control of premises, including common parts of blocks of flats and houses in multiple occupations (HMOs). The key to ensuring that such duties are complied with is the carrying out of a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment. Even if your property is not an HMO, the Landlord or their agent needs to consider that fire is defined as a Category 1 Hazard under Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). The housing provider still has a duty of care to the tenant and persons visiting or working in the premises. You must ensure that there is an adequate means of escape in the event of a fire (so make sure the tenant has all the keys to the property and those windows open and close easily). Consider installing self-closing doors on rooms. The benefits of smoke detectors CANNOT be emphasized enough and for an HMO they must be interlinked and mains-powered. Consider the use of cylinder locks instead of mortise locks as these can be opened from the inside without having to use a key. Things such as fire blankets and extinguishers may also prove useful.
All properties built since June 1992 must have been fitted with mains powered smoke detector alarms from new. From 1st October 2015 there is legislation requiring smoke alarms to be fitted in all tenanted properties. Regulations state that at least one smoke alarm should be on each floor (in the hall and landing areas). Smoke alarms must be tested and fully working on the day that the tenants signs their tenancy agreement.
We hope that the general points covered in this guide will be of assistance to you. If there are any aspects of which you are unsure, please telephone our office. Alternatively, we can visit you at your home to discuss your individual requirements, at your convenience.