If you are a landlord and you are wondering what legal duties you have to comply with when renting out a property to tenants, please click the links below to find out more information about each section:
- Understanding the law for rental accommodation
- Annual checks
- Gas safety records
- Carbon Monoxide Alarms
- Legionnaires' Disease
- Smoke Alarms
Understanding the law for rental accommodation
If you are a landlord letting a property equipped with gas appliances, you need to understand and comply with the law relating to gas safety. You need to have a gas safety check every year. A gas safe registered engineer must carry out the safety check in your properties. You must give your tenants a copy of the gas safety record within 28 days of it being carried out or before they move in. You are also obliged to show your tenants how they can turn off the gas supply in the event of a gas leak. It is now a requirement for landlords to ensure that their property complies with current building regulations with regard to the prevention of Legionella in the hot water supplies.
As a landlord, you are legally responsible for making sure that a Gas Safe Registered Engineer checks the gas appliances in your rental properties every 12 months and gives you copies of the gas safety record.
Gas safety records
When your gas safe engineer has checked the gas appliances in your rental property they will give you a gas safety record This record confirms the gas appliances have been checked and are safe. You must give your tenant a copy of these gas safety records within 28 days of the checks being done, or give a copy of the gas safety record to a new tenant before they move in. Remember, you must keep a record of each safety check for two years. Visit the HSE website for more information about landlords' responsibility for gas safety
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
The Health and safety Executive strongly recommends the use of CO alarms, as one useful precaution to give tenants advance warning of CO in the property. Importantly alarms should not be regarded as a replacement for regular maintenance and safety checks by a Gas safe registered company, like Stable Heating Services Ltd. Any natural gas or LPG heating system whereby the flue system is located within a void or in the fabric of the building, which is not accessible it is now a requirement to install inspection hatches and carbon monoxide alarms.
Guidance On Legionnaires' Disease For Landlords
Landlords of residential accommodation have responsibilities for combating Legionnaires' Disease. Health and safety legislation requires that landlords carry out risk assessments for the Legionella bacteria which cause Legionnaires' Disease and thereafter maintain control measures to minimise the risk. Most rented premises will be low risk but it is important that risk assessments are carried out and control measures introduced.
This note is intended to give a brief guide to what the landlord should do. Further advice is available from the Health & Safety Executive.
What is Legionnaires' Disease?
Legionnaires' Disease is a pneumonia like illness caused by the Legionella bacteria and can be fatal. The infection is caused by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated by the bacteria. The disease cannot be passed from one person to another.
Legionella bacteria are found in the natural environment and may contaminate and grow in water systems, including domestic hot and cold water systems. They survive low temperatures and thrive at temperatures between 20 - 45°C if the conditions are right. They are killed by high temperatures at 60°C or above.
Landlords are under a duty to ensure that the risk of exposure to tenants, residents and visitors by Legionella is properly assessed and controlled.
For most residential settings the risk assessment may well show the risks are low so long as simple control measures are followed. This will apply to houses or flats with small domestic type water systems where the water turnover is high. Provided the risk assessment shows that the risks are insignificant and the control measures are being properly managed no further action would be necessary. It is important, however, to keep the assessment under review periodically in case anything changes to the system.
From the 1st October 2015 regulations require smoke alarms to be installed in rented residential accommodation .The Regulations apply both to houses and flats. Failure to comply can lead to a civil penalty being imposed of up to £5,000.
Requirement for Smoke alarms
During any period beginning on or after 1st October 2015 while the premises are occupied under a tenancy (or licence) the landlord must ensure that a smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. A living room will include a lounge dining room and kitchen as well as a bathroom or toilet. It also includes a hall or landing. This means that a smoke alarm must be provided in working order on each storey. As regards individual flats located on one floor then there will have to be at least one alarm within the flat itself or alternatively are provided outside the flat on the same floor of the building, i.e. a communal alarm.
Likewise, for flats comprising more than one storey there will need to be a smoke alarm on each floor.
It is the location of an alarm which sounds which is crucial; not the positioning of detectors.
The Regulations do not stipulate what kind of alarm is required. Ideally it should be a hard wired alarm system. It can, however, be a single standalone alarm. Landlords are recommended by the to fit ten year long life tamper proof alarms, otherwise there is a problem of batteries being taken out and not being replaced.
As a final note, heat detectors are not considered sufficient. It will have to be a smoke detector