Written in collaboration with Rosana Beechum
There are a huge amount of benefits that come with being a landlord, and acknowledging this absolute privilege comes with understanding your responsibility for the health and safety of your tenants when they’re inside your property.
Ensuring that your property is safe for habitation can take a lot of work, but once you’ve created a safe abode, maintaining that level of safety and security for your current and future tenants is going to be much simpler. We’ve listed some of the key health and safety obligations that you need to consider when letting your property out to tenants.
While a lot of fire safety is based on individuals and their own responsibilities for safety, there are some things that you, as a property owner need to ensure. First, smoke alarms are essential, and these, along with carbon monoxide detectors, are a legal requirement for landlords to install in a rental property before letting it.
As well as this, you’ll also have to make sure that you have fire doors installed if your property is a multi-occupancy building and that there are clear escape routes for tenants to get out in the event of a fire.
Another important aspect of being a landlord is making sure that your property is secure for your tenants, reducing the risks of break-ins and other crimes. Make sure that locks are changed when a tenant leaves, as simply retrieving the keys from them doesn’t mean that they haven’t had their key cut to allow them or an acquaintance to return in the future.
While this is highly unlikely, you can’t risk the safety and security of future tenants, so changing the locks is an important step here. It’s also worth trying to run a background check on potential tenants as there have been instances of those running illicit activities from rental properties, such as drug deals, causing the property to become associated with these crimes even after those tenants move out. This can cause problems for future tenants if unsavoury individuals continue to frequent the area.
Every five years, you are obliged to have your rental property inspected to make sure wiring and electrical systems are in accordance with British regulations. These inspections are known as an EICR or electrical installation condition report and are carried out by a professional, qualified electrician such as the ones available from Trade Facilities Services.
As well as this, you’ll want to have an electrician visit your tenants to run a portable appliance test or PAT. This is because individual tenant devices aren’t guaranteed to be safe either, and a poor-quality device could be a fire hazard for your property.
If there are damages to your property that could cause injury or health problems to tenants, you are responsible for fixing these problems before your tenants move in. If a tenant is injured because of the damages you’ve failed to repair, you may be liable for legal action.
Identify any problems in your property that could be a potential health risk, such as broken stairs and flooring, exposed electrical wiring, damaged gas and water pipes, and general structural damage. Of course, landlords and tenants both have certain responsibilities when it comes to repairs, so make sure you, as a landlord, are handling the things that you’re required to take care of.