A landlord is responsible for obtaining safety certificates and operating instructions for the property before a letting commences. It will be the landlord’s responsibility to remove from the property all furnishings which do not comply with the Fire and Furnishing Regulations, and any electrical or gas appliances which have not passed safety checks, or do not have clear instructions prior to the commencement of the tenancy.
The Furniture & Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 as amended
A landlord is responsible for ensuring that furniture in all properties where lettings have commenced since 1st March 1993, comply with the regulations. Regulations specify that fabrics and fittings should be fire retardant and landlords should be able to either show the relevant labels on the items of furniture, or to provide a declaration that the furniture complies. Failure to comply with these regulations is a criminal offence and is subject to severe penalties.
Gas Safety (Installation and Use)
It is the duty of the landlord to ensure that all gas appliances, flues and associated pipe work are maintained in a safe condition at all times. There is also a requirement that gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed and then at least every 12 month thereafter. This check has to be carried out by a competent engineer, if not British Gas, a registered CAPITA Gas Safe engineer. A copy of the safety check record of certificate has to be given to any new tenant before they occupy the property and existing tenants must be given a copy within 28 days of the annual check. Under law, the landlord cannot opt out of this responsibility either by making an agreement with the tenant, or stipulating in the lease, that this has become their responsibility.
Electrical equipment is covered by the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the Plugs and Sockets (Safety) Regulations. All electrical appliances and installations should be checked regularly and wiring should be checked by an engineer registered with the National Institute of Electrical Engineering Contractors (NICEIC). Plugs, sockets and adaptors need to comply with the appropriate current standards, which now include the requirement that live and neutral pins on plugs are part insulated so as to prevent shocks when removing plugs from sockets.
ChampionHolmes recommend a safety test should be carried out, at the expense of the landlord, before each re-letting. Either the landlord’s specified contractors (where details have been given to the agent) or reputable local contractors will be instructed.
ChampionHolmes strongly recommended that a landlord supplies at least one working battery powered smoke alarm on each floor of the rented property. Under the terms of the tenancy agreement, the tenant is made responsible for regularly checking of and changing of the battery.
Carbon Monoxide Alarm
HSE strongly recommends the use of CO alarms as one useful precaution to give tenants advance warning of CO in the property. Importantly alarms should not be regarded as a replacement for regular maintenance and safety checks by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer. CO alarms cost between £20-£30 and can be purchased in most hardware shops. Before purchasing a CO alarm, always ensure it complies with British Standard EN 50291 and carries a British or European approval mark, such as a Kitemark. CO alarms should be installed and maintained in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.