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Nov
8

Landlord Law – Essential Legislation Landlords Need To be Aware Of

Landlords are required to remain current as to their understanding and compliance with the many laws, regulations and acts that have been developed for the letting industry. It is an ever changing world and the laws that we live by therefore are constantly changing as well.

The following is just a sampling of such regulations that landlords and letting agents would be wise to study and ensure their properties are in compliance.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1988 puts the responsibility of ensuring all gas appliances and fixtures, such as pipes and flues are maintained in good condition directly on the landlords of residential properties. Most importantly is to makes sure that the escape of Carbon Monoxide poison, which is odourless, silent and deadly, is avoided at all costs.

The regulation states that all properties need to have a valid Gas Safety Record at all times. This would also include pipework that has been capped and appliances removed. A CORGI registered engineer must inspect all gas appliances prior to the tenant moving into the property, who will issue the Gas Safety Record for which a copy must be given to the tenant. After the initial check an annual Gas Safety Check must be performed and again a copy goes to the tenant within 28 days of the check. The landlord is expected to keep a copy of the Gas Safety Check for a period of two years.

Both landlords and letting agents are liable for the compliance of this regulation and should be aware that non-compliance is a serious criminal offense and could carry with it monetary penalties and/or imprisonment. If a death were to occur due to a breach in the safety regulations, the charge could be manslaughter and both landlord and agent would be equally liable.

Another regulation that has become just as important is the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulation 1988 – as amended 1993, which states that the following furniture and furnishings that are supplied by the landlord must meet fire safety regulations.

These items include: Beds, headboards and mattresses; sofas, sofa-beds and futons; nursery furniture; garden furniture that is suitable to be used indoors; furniture used in new caravans; window seat, seat pads, scatter cushions and bean bags; padded stools and chests (ottomans); put-u-up beds and garden loungers/seats; and loose and stretch covers for furniture.

Most furniture that has been manufactured after 1989 will likely comply and will have a label showing their compliance. The items that are not covered by this regulation are: sleeping bags, bed clothes (including duvets) and pillowcases; loose covers for mattresses, curtains and carpets; furniture or furnishing manufactured prior to 1950, as the material used prior to this period was not flammable.

The consequences for non-compliance of this regulation are also a criminal offense and could lead to a fine of £5000 and/or 6 months in prison. The charge of manslaughter would also be imposed should a death occur due to negligence on the part of the landlord and/or letting agent.

There are several other regulations that landlords must adhere to, however these two are the most important and hold the strictest penalties for non-compliance. Landlords are required to be up-to-date on all of the literature that goes along with the regulations and laws for letting properties.

Aug
15

Fire Safety In Properties – Landlords Beware!

 

Proper fire safety measures must be taken when letting or going to let a flat or house.  A few simple steps can be taken to help avoid fires.  The proper installation of a smoke alarm and carbon dioxide detector should be installed on all floors of a flat to ensure there is a proper awareness should a fire break out.  These detectors can be purchased and installed by the landlord or tenant at minimal cost. Regular checking of batteries for the detectors need to be done to ensure they are in good working order. The Building Regulations (1991) state that all properties built since June 1992 must be fitted with mains operated interlinked smoke detectors/alarms with at least one detector per floor level.

It is also the case that all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are required to supply mains operated interlinked smoke alarm system.

Also having fire extinguishers, fire blankets and a proper fire escape are all key components when it comes to safety in properties.  Before moving into a flat or letting a flat to a tenant, these items should be regulated and checked and put on the inventory list as working before the let agreement is signed by both parties.

 

Landlords must maintain the electrical and gas fixtures so none of them are faulty therefore causing a possible fire.  If a tenant sees an issue with any of these items, it must be given in writing to the landlord immediately so they may rectify the situation.  Disrepair can be rectified quickly and will help overcome possible fires within a reasonable duration.

 

There are many other reasons fire can start within a flat or house.  Many accidents and fires occur through negligence and can be avoided with a few simple rules.  If the tenant is a smoker all cigarettes should be disposed of in the appropriate tin.  Never empty a tin into the trash without making sure the tin is cold or filled with some liquid.  Refrain from smoking in bed, as lying down to sleep makes for many fire related injuries and losses.  Never drape wet laundry items over heating elements to dry them.  Candles should be used with caution and be in view always.  Unplugging appliances when not in use is another way to prevent a possible fire from happening.

 

Make sure the furniture in the flat is fire resistant.  The landlord is responsible for seeing that all furniture and material is fire resistant, confirming the resistance with a symbol in each piece.  If a tenant finds furniture that is not resistant, then contact the landlord to have this procedure done or replaced with the appropriate furniture.  If a tenant does not have a landlord that is compliant with the fire regulations, contact the local council or fire service.  The council and fire service will contact the landlord and take the appropriate actions needed to make sure the rules are followed.

 

By landlords and tenants following the safety rules and guidelines along with common sense, almost all fires can be avoided.  When in doubt, seek legal advice and know your rights.

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