Any landlord has a duty to provide (and a tenant a right to expect) a rented property and contents which ensure a safe environment in which to live. Failure to observe safety regulations could lead to a prosecution, a fine, a substantial claim for damages by any injured party and possibly a prison sentence. Wherever there is any area of doubt our very strong recommendation to any Landlord, Tenant or Letting Agent is “Be safe not sorry”. Further guidance may be obtained from the appropriate authority, for example; your own legal advisors, local Trading Standards Officer, Gas Safe, the Department of Trade and Industry.
From the 1st January 1997 any furniture supplied as part of a new letting which commenced after 1st March 1993 must now comply with the regulations. What do the regulations require?
That the cover fabric and filling material of the upholstered furniture be made of fire resistant material and be able to pass the “smouldering cigarette” and “match flame” resistance test and carry a label confirming this. What should I do with items which don’t comply? They should be removed from the property before it is let.
The Gas Safety Regulations first came into force during 1994 and have subsequently been added to and amended. They apply equally to appliances and equipment using the mains gas supply or liquid gas, for example Propane or Calor. The central provisions of these regulations require that:-
Housing Act of 2004 came into effect 2006, Landords and Tenants Act 1985. There are a number of pieces of legislation which relate to the supply and maintenance of electrical equipment, household appliances and/or the cables, plugs and sockets which connect them. Examples of such items might include:-
The basic concept is that a landlord has an obligation and Duty of Care to ensure that any such items supplied as part of a property letting are “safe”, and not dangerous. This could be extended to include the mains supply. This is to minimise the risk of injury, death or of damage to property.
Any equipment or appliances or hard wiring identified as being potentially unsafe or showing obvious defects such as:-
should be immediately repaired or removed and replaced with brand new equipment which complies with current BS and EC standards.
All homes must be fitted with mains or battery operated smoke detectors on each floor of the building.
Fatal Carbon Monoxide fumes can be produced by the combustion of any fossil fuel. It is essential therefore that landlords remember they have a duty to take care to ensure the regular maintenance and repair of oil fired or solid fuel heating systems and that adequate flues and ventilation and Carbon Monoxide detectors are provided.