The primary responsibility of a landlord is to ensure that your property is safe for your tenants to live in and that it is fit for purpose. When you rent your property, you are legally obligated to keep the property well maintained. The very detailed Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 specifies the rights of the tenant, and the requirements of a tenancy agreement which must be met for it to be considered a legally binding document. Ultimately, the overriding responsibility which falls in your hands, is to ensure that your property is safe. So, you may be wondering – what makes a property safe to live in? In this article, our Ipswich Plumbers will explain everything you need to know from a plumbing and heating perspective!

Factors which determine whether a property is ‘fit for purpose’

According to the legislation, when you rent out your property, it has to meet specific criteria before it can be rented to a tenant. This criteria includes:

  • Has to be in a state of good repair
  • The property must be structurally safe
  • Free from damp and excessive moisture
  • Have adequate ventilation
  • Have an ample supply of electricity and water
  • Must be able to provide hot water and heating
  • Be sufficiently insulated
  • Facilities to maintain good hygiene (e.g a working bathroom)
  • Have good drainage
  • Facilities to prepare and cook food

Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

In the United Kingdom, it is a legal requirement for tenanted properties to have both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted. It is your responsibility to ensure that these alarms are installed and maintained. During inspections of the property, you should ensure that the alarms are functioning properly. To comply with the legislation, there should be at least one smoke detector on each level of the property.

You should keep a record when you test the alarms, and ensure that you check that they are working at least once every six months.

Gas safety checks

The Health and Safety Executive has concluded that as a landlord, you have ‘a legal duty to repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in a safe condition, to ensure an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue, and to keep a record of each safety check’. These annual checks reduce the likelihood of a gas related emergency arising in your property, thus keeping your tenants and property safe! If you neglect your responsibility to have an annual gas safety check undertaken, you may face legal consequences.

Gas safety inspections are quick and easy. Our Ipswich Plumbers are Gas Safe registered and provide landlord certification services in Ipswich, if you would like to ensure that your property is complying with the legal requirements, you should get in touch with a member of our team.

Fire safety

When you decide to rent your property, you are able to rent it with or without furniture. If you have a property that is already fully furnished, you may went to avoid the hassle of removing the furniture from the property. However, if you do decide to rent the property with the furniture provided, then you have to ensure that the furniture is safe to be left in the property. This can be a tedious task, you need to verify that each and every piece of furniture in the property was manufactured with safety in mind.

Each piece of furniture in the property will need to have the relevant label from the manufacturer which states the risk of the item if there was ever a fire in the property, unless it was made before the law came into effect in 1950, in which case the item of furniture does not need a label.

You should be proactive as a landlord and ensure that you are leaving your property in a safe condition for your tenants. Ultimately, if there is a fire in the property and you have left fittings or fixtures in the home that are unsafe, then you may have to face the consequences of that.

Listen to your tenants

You should communicate with your tenants effectively. Never ignore what they have to say. They should be able to contact you as and when they need to, particularly in an emergency situation. If they believe that the property is unsafe, you should listen to their concerns and if necessary take action to remedy the problem. If you don’t, then you may have to pay them compensation. You should read more about your responsibilities here.

This article is by no means a definitive guide of your responsibilities, our Ipswich Plumbers have written it to provide a basic insight. Before you decide to rent your property, you should undertake the necessary research to enable you to be a responsible landlord. We offer landlord certification services, including gas safety checks in Ipswich. If you would like to arrange an appointment, you can do so here.