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Rental Property - Safety Regulations
All landlords have specific legal obligations and responsibilities for a variety of safety related issues, these include fire safety for furnishings; gas appliances and electrical wiring/appliances to list some. It is essential that landlords (and their agents) take these responsibilities seriously as failure to comply can lead to large fines and even imprisonment. Below we have detailed some basic information regarding these issues, specifics may vary from property to property.
The current requirement for private rented property in Scotland is that there must be a hard wired smoke alarm in the hall (and on each floor if the property is not on a single level), another hardwired and linked smoke alarm in the lounge and a hardwired and linked heat detector in the kitchen.
Any rental property equipped with gas appliances needs to comply with the law relating to gas safety. Pipe work, appliances and flues provided for tenants must be properly maintained and in a safe condition. A gas safety check must be carried out every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The tenants must receive a copy of the gas safety record 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. In practice what that means is that the property must have an Electrical Inspection & Safety Report (EICR) otherwise knows as a wiring survey every five years. Any electrical items either provided by or left in the property by the landlord must be subject to a Portable Appliance Test every twelve months.
Furniture and Furnishing
Furniture and furnishings supplied in rental accommodation must comply with The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. If the property is furnished you must ensure that certain types of furniture and furnishings provided meet the current safety regulations (this basically means anything with foam in it).
Due to the Health and Safety Executives recent change in policy regarding water supply, domestic rental property now falls into this area. What it means in practical terms is that some basic preventative and risk assessment measures are required except in ‘high risk’ properties, which are very rare. This can generally be achieved at zero cost to the landlord, anyone who tries to get you to have a ‘test’ conducted is trying to sell you something you probably don’t need.
Surprisingly these are not, as yet, mandatory (though we believe they should be). They only become mandatory when a new gas appliance of any type is fitted in the property. That said we thoroughly recommend them to any of our landlords that have gas in their properties.
Energy Performance Certificates
Obviously not a safety requirement but we have included it here for completeness. 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 and it must be included in any advertising regarding the property.
As a pro active letting agent we manage all of the above and are at the cutting edge of current and proposed changes to legislation as they occur. Should you require any advice about any of the above please don’t hesitate to contact Belvoir Lettings Dundee on 01382 228437 or Dundee@belvoirlettings.com