Owning a rental property is a great way to make some extra income, but it comes with a few responsibilities. One of the biggest issues for landlords is managing health and safety, so today we’re going to be looking at what you’ll need to do to ensure your tenants are safe in their new home.
Fire and carbon monoxide safety
First things first, you’ll need to ensure that there’s a fire alarm installed on each floor of the property, and if you have any appliances that burn solid fuel – such as a log burner or coal fire – then you’ll need to provide a carbon monoxide alarm in the room they’re in. You might also want to provide fire extinguishers; for larger properties with multiple people living there, this is mandatory.
Any furniture and soft furnishings you supply must be fire safe, and don’t forget to think about exit routes from the building in the event of a fire – how quickly could people get out, and is anything blocking a potential fire escape? Fire safety regulations must be adhered to, and you can read up on them in more detail on the Residential Landlords Association website.
You’ll need to get a gas safety certificate if you have any gas-powered appliances, such as the boiler, oven, hob or gas fire. Gas-powered equipment needs to have been installed and maintained by an engineer who’s on the Gas Safe Register, who’ll also need to perform an annual safety check on the equipment and flue. You should give a copy of the gas safety certificate to your tenant before they move in, or within 28 days of the inspection.
If you’re providing electrical appliances as part of the rental – a fridge and washing machine, for example – you will also need to make sure these are safe and in good working order. The same goes for the electricity supply to the property in general, such as sockets and light fittings.
Other health and safety considerations
Having covered fire, gas and electricity safety in your property, there are still a few other health and safety considerations to bear in mind before you rent it out:
- Overcrowding: allowing more people to live in your property than there are rooms or space available for constitutes overcrowding and breaches the Housing Act 1936. Tenancy agreements should name each person permitted to live in your property.
- Smoking: if you let your property to multiple tenants – in a student let, for example – bear in mind that communal areas are covered by the National Smoke Free Legislation and smoking should be prohibited. If you want to ensure that tenants don’t smoke anywhere in your property, make sure it’s written into their tenancy agreement.
- Asbestos: if anyone entering your property – a tenant or otherwise – comes into contact with asbestos, you could be held liable. You should ensure that you have an asbestos risk assessment carried out and make sure that any remedial work is carried out by a competent contractor. Read more about this here.
Finally, no matter how diligent you’ve been about health and safety, there’s still the possibility that something unexpected could happen to your property. Talk to us about landlords building and contents insurance and make sure your assets are covered in the event of the unforeseen.