Keeping your tenants as safe as houses

As a landlord, you have certain responsibilities to uphold in order to ensure that your property is safe for the residents. Not only are there legal requirements to do so, there is also a moral duty of care to ensure that you are providing a safe and habitable environment in return for the rental fees paid.

There can be a lot to remember which becomes increasingly challenging if you are the owner of multiple rental properties. Take a look at some of the areas you must look after for your tenants’ homes:

  • Gas safety – if your property is fitted with a gas supply, it must be installed properly, serviced and properly maintained. You must have an up-to-date Landlord Gas Safety Record or Gas Safety Certificate issued by a registered Gas Safe engineer annually to prove this
  • Electrical equipment – this must be properly maintained (electrical faults are one of the key causes of house fires). The rules regarding frequency of inspections differs depending on the equipment itself, the condition it is in and what it is used for. It is advisable to conduct a full check every year to inspect all aspects of the electrics and the professional completing the task will be able to issue you with an EICR – Electrical Installation Condition report which should include PAT testing for smaller items as well as electrical systems
  • Financial protection – it is your duty to ensure the tenant’s deposit is safely secured in a government-approved deposit scheme which will help not just the tenant, but you too in the event of a dispute. It is also advisable to conduct proper credit checks on your tenant prior to signing the contracts to ensure they are in a strong enough financial position
  • Energy Performance Certificate – this must be provided for the property in order to show how much utility bills are likely to be
  • Fire safety – smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms must be fitted and tested prior to anyone moving into the property. If you are renting out a flat too, whether it be in a purpose-built block or in a house conversion, the necessary fire safety regulations must be followed
  • Health and safety – it is your responsibility as a landlord to ensure the property rented out is in a hospitable condition. You may find you are subjected to an HHSRS (Housing Health and Safety Rating) inspection by the local council to ensure your property is safe for those living there. They will inspect various elements, including matters such as uneven stairs. If you are subjected to one of these checks, it could be due to the tenants requesting one, or the council may have taken it upon themselves to complete it as they have identified your home as a possible risk. If any problems occur, it is the landlord’s responsibility to address them in a timely manner too so the necessary trades people will need to visit potentially at short notice to fix issues
  • Inspections – the goal is of course to provide safe housing for your tenants but equally, they have a responsibility to maintain the property according to how it was when they moved in. It is your right and need as a landlord to ensure a full inventory of items was taken prior to moving in and the condition of the property it fully documented. Regular inspections are required to properly the state of the property

Keeping on top of everything within the necessary timescales particularly when emergencies arise can cause problems. As a landlord you must manage all of the above in a timely manner, as well as source and place your tenants with the necessary legal documentation in place. All of this can be extremely time consuming so employing an expert to provide a Fully Managed Letting Service can give you the peace of mind you need and make your life as a landlord much easier. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, give Red Rose a call on 01257 547062 to find out more.

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