A landlord's guide to safety regulations
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended)
All upholstered furniture made after 1950 is included within these Regulations. The furniture covered by the Regulations includes sofas, settees, seat pads, beds, head boards, pillows, arm chairs, scatter cushions, futons, mattresses and bean bags, but not curtains, carpets, bedclothes (including duvets) and mattress covers. To comply with the Regulations these types of furniture must be fire resistant and in most cases carry a permanent label to this effect. To be 'Fire Resistant' most furniture and upholstery must have passed an 'ignitability test' specified in the Regulations.
If you ask us to let or manage your property, you must remove any furniture which does not comply with these Regulations before the tenancy begins. Any replacement furniture you place in the property must comply with the Regulations.
There are heavy penalties imposed by these regulations on landlords who do not comply with them. The penalties for non-compliance include a maximum of six months imprisonment and/or up to a £5000 fine.
You can obtain further guidance on these regulations from your local Trading Standards office.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994
These regulations came into effect on the 31st October 1994 to ensure that gas appliances are properly installed and maintained in a safe condition so as to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is the responsibility of the landlords of domestic properties that ALL 'Gas Appliances' and Gas Installation Pipe work owned by him are checked for safety at least once a year by a Gas-Safe Registered Engineer and that accurate records are kept of those safety inspections and any work carried out. These records must be provided to the tenant. These regulations also apply to new properties.
'Gas Appliances' - includes any fitted gas appliance, for example:-
- Central heating system
- Gas heaters
- Gas fires
- Gas cookers
'Gas Installation Pipe work' - includes gas pipe work, valves, regulators and meters. Faulty equipment can lead to death and a conviction of unlawful killing on a landlord.
Under the Regulations any appliance that does not conform to the regulations can be disconnected.
Failure to comply with these regulations may jeopardise the life of your tenant and lead to prosecution with penalties of imprisonment or fines up to £5000.
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020
The above regulations state that Landlords must have their properties inspected and tested by a qualified person at least every five years to ensure that all electrical appliances and installations left as part of a let property are safe.
Landlords have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants before a they move into the property or within 28 days if the tenant is already occupying the property. A copy must be sent to the local authority if requested.
Failure to comply with these regulations may jeopardise the life of your tenant and the local authority may impose financial penalties not exceeding £30,000. As part of our service we can arrange gas and electrical safety inspections if requested.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
The following summarised guidance is taken from www.gov.uk, the full guidance can be downloaded by following this link:
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 have been approved by parliament and came into force as planned on 1 October 2015. Private sector landlords are required from 1 October 2015 to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove). After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.
The requirements will be enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.
Landlords should be aware that the regulations do not contain all the fire safety requirements which their premises may be subject to. There are fire safety requirements under other legislation which may be applicable, such as under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
1. What do the regulations require?
The regulations require private rented sector landlords, from 1 October 2015, to have:
- At least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their rental property which is used as living accommodation, and
- A carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel is used.
- After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.
Linley and Simpson are of the opinion that only installing CO alarms in rooms that house solid fuel appliances leaves both tenants and landlords at unacceptable risk. It is therefore our policy to strongly recommend that landlords also install CO alarms in rooms that house gas boilers and heaters.
2. Who is responsible for checking the required alarms are in working order?
The regulations require landlords to ensure alarms are installed in their properties with effect from 1 October 2015. After that the landlord (or someone acting on behalf of the landlord) must ensure all alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.
After the landlord's test on the first day of the tenancy, tenants should take responsibility for their own safety and test all alarms regularly to make sure they are in working order.
Testing monthly is generally considered an appropriate frequency for smoke alarms. If tenants find that their alarm(s) are not in working order during the tenancy, they are advised to arrange the replacement of the batteries or the alarm itself with the relevant landlord.
3. When must the alarms be checked?
For each new tenancy beginning on or after 1 October 2015, landlords must check that the required alarms are in working order on the first day of the tenancy. The first day of the tenancy is the date stipulated in the tenancy agreement, even where the tenant decides to actually move into the property on a later date. The intention of the regulations is to increase the safety of private sector tenants by ensuring that they have working alarms at the beginning of the tenancy.
4. What if the tenant won't allow the landlord access to the premises to install the alarms or take the remedial action?
The landlord should write to the tenant to explain that it is a legal requirement to install the alarms and that it is for the tenant's own safety.
If the local authority has reasonable grounds to believe the landlord has not complied with the regulations a remedial notice will be issued, detailing the suspected breach and required action. If the landlord proves compliance, either by becoming compliant or proving they were already compliant, to the relevant local authority or demonstrates they have taken all reasonable steps, other than legal proceedings, to become compliant within 28 days of the notice being issued then they will be exempt from the civil penalty – which could be up to £5,000.
5. What type of alarm should be installed?
The regulations do not stipulate the type of alarms (such as hard wired or battery powered) to be installed. Landlords should make an informed decision and choose the best alarms for their properties and tenants.
General Product Safety Regulations 1994
This law requires that all goods are safe when they are supplied. The supply of goods can occur when the tenancy contract is made and/or when the tenant moves into the property and/or when goods are newly supplied or installed for an existing tenant.
Part P Building Regulations (Electrical Safety in Dwellings)
From 1 January 2005 the above Regulations came into force requiring qualified personnel to carry out certain electrical work at premises. To ensure compliance with these Regulations we will only use a competent person to carry out any electrical work at premises. If a Landlord wishes to use their own contractor we will need written proof that they are currently registered with an approved self-certification scheme before issuing. In the absence of such proof we will instruct our own contractor.
Plugs and Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994
Electrical appliances must be correctly fitted with an approved plug with sleeved pins. All plugs should carry the name and reference number of the approved body, normally BSI or ASTA. The plug does not have to be moulded on but it must have the correct fuse for the appliance. All sockets (eg on mains extension leads), adaptors and similar devices must meet British or European Standards.
Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) Regulations 2007
Any residential property offered to let must have an EPC. This is prepared by a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor who visits the property and prepares a detailed report which covers elements such as glazing, insulation and heating. The energy efficiency and environmental impact of your property will then be rated on a scale of A-G (where A if the most efficient and G is the least). The certificate is designed to give prospective tenants information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of the building so that they may compare it to others on the market. From 1st April 2018 properties with an F or G rating cannot be let or have a tenancy renewed. All properties will need a minimum of an E rating by 1st April 2020.
Health and Safety Executive Legionella Guidelines
The Health and Safety at Work Act and The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations extend to rented properties and document HSG274 specifically states that landlords have a legal obligation to carry out an assessment in respect of legionella bacteria. There are significant penalties and fines for not complying.
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
The Act came into force on 20 March 2019. It is designed to ensure that all rented accommodation is fit for human habitation. There are no new obligations for landlords under this Act; the legislation requires landlords to ensure that they are meeting their existing responsibilities with regards to property standards and safety. Under the Act, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 is amended to require all landlords to ensure that their properties, including any common parts of the building, are fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout. The Act states that there is an implied agreement between the tenant and landlord at the beginning of the tenancy that the property will be fit for human habitation.
The above mentioned regulations can be subject to change at any time and as a landlord you accept responsibility for ensuring that any amendments to either existing legislation or conditions made mandatory by new legislation are fully met.
The safest way to achieve full compliance is to authorise the Agent to carry out the checks detailed below.
Please contact our Maintenance team for further information and to discuss prices:
Tel: 0113 205 0702