Ensuring your property is safe


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.


Furniture and Furnishings


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:-


  1. the landlord of a rented property must have a gas safety check carried out prior to a let and annually thereafter. A copy of the appropriate record must be given to the tenants. Gas fittings and flues must be maintained in a safe condition.
  2. if any appliance or pipe work is dangerous or defective it must not be used and must be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
  3. The gas safety check can only be performed by an authorised Gas Safe registered engineer qualified to work on that particular type of appliances or systems. In general terms the check itself will relate to the following:-


  • adequate ventilation and flues
  • operating pressure
  • heat output
  • flame combustion
  • escape of gas or dangerous fumes
  • obvious defects
  • Where appropriate, the provision of adequate instructions for use of equipment or appliances. It should be noted that a standard annual “service” of equipment or appliances would not normally be sufficiently detailed to comply with and satisfy the requirements of the regulations. Servicing should be carried out in addition to a Gas Safety Certificate.




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:-


  • electric cookers, microwaves
  • toasters, kettles, TV’s, Video players
  • washing machines, dishwashers
  • immersion heaters, electric blankets
  • fuses, circuit brakers
  • electric lawnmowers or similar garden equipment


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:-


  • badly frayed or damaged insulation
  • old or exposed wires, poorly fitted or cracked plugs
  • scorch marked or badly damaged sockets
  • plugs without sleeved insulated pins


should be immediately repaired or removed and replaced with brand new equipment which complies with current BS and EC standards.


Smoke Detectors


All homes must be fitted with mains or battery operated smoke detectors on each floor of the building.


Carbon Monoxide


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.

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