From Electrical Tests to Gas Checks: A Landlord’s Safety Responsibilities
With around 145 laws and hundreds of unique regulations that must be followed to ensure a building is allowed to be privately rented, a landlord has a lot on their plate. However, no matter how many laws and regulations you’re bound by, safety should always be the first priority for every private landlord.
Everyone deserves to feel safe in their homes, including those that rent from private landlords. As such, while tenants need to keep a property in check while residing there, a landlord has a host of responsibilities that they are legally required to carry out in order to ensure their property is habitable.
By not taking these precautions, not only are you putting yourself at risk of being taken to court by your justified tenants, you could end up being responsible for a tragedy. With this in mind, it is important to know what checks you need to carry out to ensure your tenants are living in your property safely.
As specialist electricians with a wealth of experience inspecting rental properties for electrical faults, we know a thing or two about what is required of landlords. Because of this, we thought we’d create this handy guide to give you more information on your responsibilities.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
Here in the UK there are around 200 fire-related deaths every single year, with the majority of these fatalities being between 10pm and 6am when people are usually fast asleep. While you may think that the fire itself is the biggest killer, you may be surprised to know that smoke is just as dangerous.
Because of this, it is a legal requirement for all properties to have smoke alarms installed throughout their property. Following the rules set out by the Scottish government, all rented properties should have smoke alarms in the following areas:
- A working smoke alarm in areas of the property that are frequented by tenant(s) during the day, for example, the living room.
- At least one working smoke alarm in spaces such as hallways or landings.
- One alarm installed in every kitchen space in the property.
It is also required that these smoke alarms are interlinked with each other in order to sound the alarm throughout the property and alert all tenants to any potential dangers. Aside from smoke alarms, it is also essential that landlords install working carbon monoxide detectors.
As this deadly gas is both colourless and odourless, tenants will not know they are being affected by a leak possibly until it is too late. Throughout the UK, there are around 4,000 hospital visits a year caused by carbon monoxide poisoning and, if not treated, can cause death.
For Scottish landlords, each room that has a carbon-based fuel appliance must have a long-lasting detector installed.
A boiler is the beating heart of any property, keeping your tenants warm during those colder evenings. However, these handy units can be extremely dangerous without the proper checks in place. Research suggests that more than 1 in 3 private landlords in the UK don’t have a full understanding of their responsibilities when it comes to keeping the boiler in check, which is a pretty damning statistic.
A faulty boiler can be prone to leaks and even presents a potential risk of explosion. With this in mind, you will need to ensure the following checks have been made to protect your tenants.
All pipework, appliances and flues at the property come under the remit of the landlord and must be properly maintained and repaired when necessary. All maintenance should be via guidance from the manufacturer instructions, however, if these can’t be found, you will need to incorporate these into your annual checks carried out by a trained gas engineer.
It is also vital that you have ensured that all of the gas appliances and components are completely safe and fit for use for when the tenants move in.
As mentioned above, you will also need to schedule in an annual check of your heating system carried out by a Gas Safe engineer. The Gas Safe register is the body responsible for ensuring all Gas Safe accredited heating engineers are trained and certified to carry out the necessary repairs on boilers and heating systems.
A Gas Safe engineer is the only person who is legally allowed to make repairs checks on your boiler so you will need to make sure you are enlisting someone recognised on the register. To find a Gas Safe-registered heating engineer near you, simply visit the official website.
Gas safety record
After your annual safety check, the engineer will issue you with a record of the completed inspection so that you can pass it onto your new tenants. You have 28 days after the check has been completed to pass on the record to your tenant.
It’s deceptively easy to simply believe that the UK water system will always offer households clean, drinkable water whenever needed. One such issue that can occur due to plumbing systems not being properly checked is the spread of legionella. This bacteria lives in contaminated water droplets and can cause severe pneumonia if contracted.
In order to minimise this risk it is a legal requirement to ensure that you have taken the proper precautions to keep water running clear. For example, it is essential that you flush your plumbing system before the tenants move in. You will also need to check that any cold water holding tanks are tightly sealed and that the proper control parameters are in place to keep a consistent water temperature.
Safe electrical equipment is a legal right of any tenant. Faulty appliances, lighting fixtures and any other electronic component can pose extreme risks to those living in the property, not only because of the potential danger of an electric shock, but the added risk of a fire caused by sparking. With this in mind, it is your legal obligation as a Scottish landlord to provide tenants with safe and efficient electricity. Luckily, by hiring a specialist to perform an electrical inspection, you can ensure the property you’re letting is safe for habitation.
This inspection, like the annual gas check will be split into two components. First, a trained electrician with the skills to carry out a comprehensive tenancy check will inspect all of the fittings, fixtures and appliances. This is usually done by carrying out what is known as a PAT test.
Once all of the electronic components in your rental property have been sufficiently tested, you will receive a landlord safety certificate which documents both to the law and to tenants that you have carried out the necessary safety checks.
While not a legal requirement, a PAT test can offer landlords complete peace of mind that their electrical components are working as they should, meaning that their tenants are safe while living at the property.
Ensure your rental property is completely safe with Interlink Lighting & Electrical
Ensuring your property is safe doesn’t have to be difficult when you can enlist the help of industry professionals. If you’re in Scotland or the North of England and require a comprehensive PAT inspection for your rental property, get in touch with Interlink today.
Our team of highly qualified professional electricians have spent years aiding landlords, domestic customers and businesses alike with their electricity requirements. From carrying out tests on rental properties, to maintenance and installation, you can count on Interlink when it comes to quality. Get in touch with our team today to learn more.