The landlords guide to health and safety standards for let properties
Private property landlords have a responsibility towards tenants: you must ensure a minimum standard of living within your let properties that the government deems to be legally acceptable and fair.
Alongside ensuring that you have proper and up-to-date landlord’s property insurance in place, it’s your responsibility to make sure any homes you’re currently renting out to tenants are safe for them to live in. It’s imperative that you meet these government-set standards, as not doing so, in any area, could invalidate your property insurance and, depending on the severity of the breech, jeopardise your ability to continue letting out rental properties.
Here are the key factors in ensuring your let property meets the required standard, with action points for every landlord to consider:
1) Energy efficiency
Recently the government put into place new energy efficiency regulations, stating landlords will, from April 2018, be banned from letting out rental properties that fall below an E rating on the energy-efficiency scale. It’s estimated that there are approximately 400,000 rental properties in the UK with an F or G rating.
Despite the new regulation being a blow to landlords currently renting out properties with poor energy efficiency, Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association, commented that the government have managed to strike a delicate balance between making clear what is expected while ensuring landlords are able to comply, adding that the new regulations “will not impose an unreasonable burden,” on landlords.
- check roof and wall insulation – consider a grant for cavity insulation
- check window and door insulation – consider draft excluders or double glazing
2) Secure access
Any property you let out to tenants must not have any doors or windows that are insecure, and could therefore allow the property to be broken into with a reasonable amount of force. Broken windows and rotting window or door frames are a common culprit.
- check window and door frames, are they in good condition?
- add new locks if needed
3) No damp or leakages
Dampness and leakages from walls and roofs are your legal responsibility as landlord. It is your tenant’s responsibility to inform you of these issues the moment they become apparent, and they must allow you access to your property, with reasonable notice, in order to repair the damage.
- carry out regular inspections
- check walls and attic if applicable (expert checks will be needed if damp is detected)
4) Serviced gas appliances
All the gas appliances within your properties must be ensured to be in good, working order, and checked on an annual basis by a qualified Gas Safety engineer.
It’s also your responsibility as landlord to ensure all of the electrical installations (but not electrical equipment brought into your letting by your tenants) are in working order. These include the electric lighting, central heating, and any electrical equipment that you included with the let, such as a fridge and electric oven.
- set up regular annual visit by Gas Safety
- set up visit by PAT tester
5) Good supply of hot water
If your tenants receive insufficient hot water (or water generally) it’s up to you to investigate this issue and manage it through to resolution.
- check hot water tank/boiler regularly (gas safety engineer can combine boiler check)
- check pipes when inspecting house as standard
Ensuring that your let property meets the government-set standards is also essential in keeping your landlord’s property insurance valid and in place. Landlord regulations and legal requirements are constantly being implemented, while insurance requirements can vary between insurers and the type of landlord’s property insurance policy taken out. To get expert advice and information on the best insurance for your property, contact Stride Limited, or ask us for a quote.
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