Landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that the tenants and their visitors have a safe environment in which to live. Safety regulations are regularly revised and penalties for none compliance can be severe. A brief summary of obligations are detailed below.
ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATES (EPCs)
As from the 1st October 2008, all properties being marketed for sale or for let are required to have an Energy Performance Assessment undertaken and a certificate produced. Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) give information on how to make your home more energy efficient and reduce your energy costs. An EPC is valid for 10 years. We can arrange this on your behalf.
GAS SAFETY CERTIFICATES
Landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure that any gas appliances or installation pipe work in the property is maintained in a safe condition so as to prevent risk of injury to any person by ensuring that all such appliances and pipe work are checked annually by an approved Gas Safe registered engineer and a certificate (cp12) is provided. We can arrange this on your behalf.
ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT (SAFETY) REGULATIONS 1994
New regulations have been introduced to improve safety in rented residential accommodation. Although not a legal requirement for an electrical safety certificate (except in the case of all HMOs), the Electrical Equipment Safety Regulations state that landlords must ensure electrical equipment and systems are safe and maintained to a safe condition during the tenancy
Fixed wiring circuits should be checked for safety. The Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) recommends that this is carried out every 10 years in a domestic environment.
Landlords should ensure that electrical equipment is safe and will not cause danger and that it satisfies the safety requirements of the 1994 regulations. It is recommended that the manufacturer's instructions be provided wherever possible for each appliance that is supplied; this will help to ensure that the tenant uses the equipment safely.
FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1993 (amended) 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 stating the compliance. Non-compliant items must be removed before a tenancy commences.
Although not mandatory; we would recommend that all properties are fitted with a smoke alarm (ideally one on each floor of the property). Most Gas Safe Plumbers recommend the fitting of a carbon monoxide tester, although not a legal requirement, failure to take adequate precautions could lead to a landlord being prosecuted. Alarms are reasonably priced and relatively easy to fit. Since June 1992, building regulations state that it is mandatory for all new buildings to be fitted with mains powered smoke alarms. East Sussex Fire Brigade will carry out a free fire safety check and install a free 10 year smoke alarm for all properties. More information can be found on www.esfrs.org/communitySafety/