Important Safety and Legal Requirements
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 state landlords must ensure that gas appliances, fittings and flues are safe for the tenant’s use and that installation, maintenance and annual safety checks are carried out by a technician registered with the Gas Safety Register (which superseded CORGI on 1st April 2009).
The landlord must keep a record of the safety check for two years. They must issue a copy to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being completed and issue a copy to any new tenants before they move in.
While there isn’t a legal obligation on landlords to have professional checks carried out on the electrical appliances, there is, however, an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe, under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets Regulations 1994, the 2005 Building Regulation – Part P, and the British Standard BS1363 relating to plugs and sockets.
All electrical certification should be carried out by an electrician who is registered with the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installers and Contractors (NICEIC). There are two types of electrical certificate:
- Periodic Inspection Report
- Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
- Fire Safety
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989 and 1993) sets minimum fire resistance standards for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery that remain in a dwelling during the course of a tenancy.
These include any of the following which contain upholstery:
- Furniture intended for private use in a dwelling, including children’s furniture
- Beds, head-boards of beds, mattresses (of any size)
- Sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles
- Nursery furniture, garden furniture suitable for use in a dwelling
- Scatter cushions, pillows, seat pads and loose and stretch covers for furniture
The Regulations do not apply to:
- Furniture made before 1950
- Sleeping bags
- Bed-clothes (including duvets)
- Loose covers for mattresses
For items that do apply, a suitable label must be attached to the furniture in a prominent position so that the label will be clearly visible to a potential purchaser of the furniture and the wording on both sides can be read with reasonable ease. Examples of these labels can be seen above.
Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
After 1st October 2015 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. Additionally, landlords must ensure that there is a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in any room that is used partly or wholly as living accommodation which also contains any appliance which burns, or is capable of burning, solid fuel. This would include log and coal burning stoves and open fires.
Energy Performance Certificate
With effect from 1st October 2008, all new tenancies require an Energy Performance Certificate. Their purpose is to determine how energy efficient homes are on a scale of A-G. The most efficient homes – which should have the lowest fuel bills – are in band A. The certificate uses the same scale to define the impact a home has on the environment. Better-rated homes should have less impact through carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The average property in the UK is in bands D-E for both ratings.
The certificate includes recommendations on ways to improve the home’s energy efficiency to save money and help the environment.