How Safe is Your Rented House?
As it’s Spring clean time of year, Opal Lettings have listed a few areas of compliance that you need to address if you have a rented property or are considering renting out a property.
Not only do you need an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate), it now needs to be above the E rating since April 2018. An EPC is designed to show what improvements can be made to keep a house warm and insulated by way of saving money and helping the planet to be greener. Checking your insulation and draught proofing are two good areas to look at. Opal Lettings can provide more detailed information on request.
Smoke alarms are needed in rented accommodation and carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with an appliance that burns solid fuel, e.g. a boiler, gas cooker. There are some variations on this ruling depending on whether the house is single let or HMO, and how many people live in the HMO, and the amount of storeys. Mains powered smoke alarms are preferable, as they are more reliable, and in some cases mandatory. Opal Lettings can provide more details on request.
Electrical work is only allowed to be carried out by a qualified electrician. Electrical safety tests need to be conducted every 5 years, and electrical items provided by you to HMO tenants need to be PAT tested annually if they are over a year old. As well as HMO’s, it is mandatory for all new tenancies for single lets to have an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) done, which needs to be renewed every 5 years. From 1st April 2021, it is mandatory for all existing tenancies to have an EICR.
Health and safety legislation requires you to take out risk assessments for Legionella bacteria and then maintain measures to minimise the risk. The Legionella bacteria causes Legionnaires’ disease, and can be very dangerous. If you are feeling competent, you can do the test yourself, if not ask Opal Lettings how!
If you house is older, Asbestos might be present in certain tiles or ceilings. Exposing people to Asbestos knowingly or unknowingly is a prosecutable offence. Asbestos is very dangerous, if you suspect there is Asbestos in your house, get a certified abatement professional to do the work for you, in rented houses, it is illegal to try and do it yourself.
Damp and Mould are always lurking in the background. But they are also a health hazard. Adequate ventilation is necessary to keep on top of this, and advising tenants to open windows and use fans regularly to allow air to circulate is a advisable. Make sure air vents are not blocked or painted over, and make sure trickle vents on doors and windows are working properly.
Fire safety is the most important one. Apart from having mandatory smoke alarms, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, it is also good practice to have a fire blanket in the kitchen, thumb turn locks (mandatory) on exterior doors (or bedroom doors for Licenced HMO) and fire risk assessment pack in the house folder detailing the escape route and fire assembly point. Bear in mind hard wired fire alarm systems are mandatory in some larger HMO’s of 2 floors and more. Also, fire systems and smoke alarms, fire detectors etc., should be checked monthly and logged. We do all of ours religiously every month! Ask if you are unsure, as it could mean the difference between saving and losing a life. Fire safety is by far the most important safety rule in rented houses.
And of course, keep up to date records of everything you do! Need any help? Contact Carole from Opal Lettings – happy to help!