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As a landlord you have specific legal obligations and responsibilities with regards to fire safety for furniture & furnishings; gas supply and appliances; plus electrical wiring and appliances. It is essential that landlords take these responsibilities seriously as failure to comply can lead to large fines and even imprisonment.
If you are a landlord letting a property equipped with gas appliances you need to understand and comply with the law relating to gas safety. If you let a property, you must make sure that pipe work, appliances and flues provided for tenants are maintained in a safe condition. You need to have a gas safety check every year. A Gas Safe registered engineer must carry out the safety check in your properties. You must give your tenants a copy of the gas safety record within 28 days of it being carried out or before they move in and you should make sure your tenants know where to turn off the gas and what to do in the event of a gas emergency.
It is important to ensure that all electrical appliances and fittings within the property are safe and in good working order. Unlike gas regulations, there is no law that says you must have a landlord electrical safety certificate. But, should any electrical fittings or appliances within your rental property cause harm to a tenant you could be held liable. If you let property you must ensure that the electrical system and all appliances supplied are safe - failure to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is a criminal offence and may result in a fine or even imprisonment.
Furniture and Furnishing
Furniture and furnishings supplied in rental accommodation must comply with The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. If you let your residential property furnished you must ensure that certain types of furniture and furnishings provided meet the current safety regulations - failure to comply with the regulations is a criminal offence and may result in heavy fines or imprisonment. Some materials used to fill or cover furniture, particularly older and second hand furniture, may be a fire risk and often produces poisonous gases when burning, such as cyanide or carbon monoxide.
Energy Performance Certificates
An Energy Performance Certificate, otherwise known as an EPC, provides an energy rating for a home, showing its energy efficiency and its environmental impact on a scale from A-G (where A is the most efficient and G the least efficient). It also contains recommended ways to improve the property’s energy performance. As of October 2008 it is the landlords legal obligation to provide their tenant with a certificate and this remains valid for a 10 year period. All homes bought, sold or rented require an EPC.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms From October 2015, Landlords will be required to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties. The changes to the law require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy. Landlords would also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed. Those who fail to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms would face sanctions and could face up to a £5,000 civil penalty.