Safety Regulations

Energy Performance Certificate | Electrical & Gas | Gas | Electrical | Furniture | Smoke Detectors

As a landlord it is crucial you ensure that your rental property is both safe & compliant with current legislation:

Energy Performance Certificate

Recent amendments to legislation mean that your property cannot be marketed until an EPC has been commissioned and, until the EPC has actually been issued & is available to be given to the prospective tenant, no viewings of the property can take place.

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be made available to any prospective tenant of a rented property. An EPC enables a tenant to assess the likely costs of heating & lighting a property.

An EPC also gives recommendations for energy saving improvements to the property in question. By 2018 tenants will be entitled to request these improvements be made either at the landlords expense or via Government schemes such as Green Deal. Taylors Lettings would therefore urge landlords to take advantage of any grants currently available to make improvements to the energy efficiency of their properties sooner rather than later.

Electrical & Gas Safety

Landlords are responsible for the safety of the gas & electrical installations within their rental properties. Failure to comply with these regulations are criminal offences with maximum penalties of up to a £5,000 fine and/or imprisonment.

Gas Safety

All gas appliances and any flues & associated pipework must be maintained to ensure they are safe to use. The law requires an annual inspection by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer.

  • A Gas Safety Certificate must be issued & kept with the inspection date and any defects identified. This certificate must be provided to the tenant within 28 days.
  • Tenants should be supplied with a key to access the gas meter if it is housed within a box or cupboard.
  • Instructions for any gas appliance must be left for the tenant.
  • Any gas appliance that is suspected or known to be faulty or incorrectly installed must not be used and should be repaired, replaced or removed immediately.
  • Where vents or air bricks have been provided to ventilate a gas appliance, these should never be blocked

For further information please visit: HSE: Gas Safety

Electrical Safety

Whilst at present no checking procedure or timescale exists in law, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 places responsibility on Landlords to ensure the electrical installations in rental property are both safe when the tenancy begins and maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy. It is therefore our recommendation that landlords have electrical appliances inspected annually with all fixed wiring checked by a qualified electrical engineer every 3 years or prior to each new tenancy. Records of these checks should be retained and provided for inspection if required.

Legislation requires that all domestic electric installation works must be carried out by a qualified & approved contractor. In addition, electrical contractors must certify their work complies with British Standard Safety Requirements.

Summary of Electrical Responsibilities:

  • Ensure the fixed wiring & any electrical appliances are safe for use prior to any let (Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994).
  • All electrical appliances must be checked at regular intervals for defects (e.g. frayed wiring, badly fitted plugs etc.). Any unsafe items must be removed from the property prior to offering it for rent.
  • Any plug, socket or adapter supplied must comply with the appropriate regulations. Any damaged or cracked plugs, sockets or the like should be replaced (1994 Plugs and Sockets Act).
  • Only competent and approved contractors may carry out electrical works
  • The fixed wiring within a property should be inspected and tested as safe every 3 years or for each new tenancy by a “Competent Person”
  • All socket outlets which may be used for equipment outdoors (e.g. a lawnmower) should be protected by a Residual Current Device (RCD)
  • Retain copies of certificates for all electrical works carried out

Further information may be found at: Electrical Safety Council

Furniture & Furnishings

Any furniture provided within rental property must comply with the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. Under these regulations it is an offence to provide any furniture in a rental property which does not meet the standards of fire resistance within the regulations. Landlords failing to comply could incur fines of up to £5,000 and/or imprisonment.

These regulations apply to beds, mattresses and headboards, cushions and pillows, any stretch or loose covers for furniture, children’s or garden furniture and other items with similar type fillings – All such items must carry correct labelling showing their compliance.

  • Upholstered furniture must have fire resistant filling material and pass a cigarette resistance test
  • Permanent covers must pass a match resistance test
  • All furniture added to a property must comply with the regulations whether new or second-hand

The regulations do not apply to:

  • Furniture that is antique or made before 1st January 1950
  • Bedclothes (including duvets and pillowcases)
  • Loose covers for mattresses, curtains, carpets, sleeping bags, cushion covers.
  • A further summary of the requirements of the regulations may be found at: Safety standards for furniture and furnishings.

Smoke Detectors

Installing smoke detectors is an effective & low cost way to protect tenants from the fatal consequences of a fire within their home.

All homes built since June 1992 are required to have at least one hard-wired smoke detector per floor with all detectors cross-linked to each other.

From 1st October 2015 The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 require landlords to install a minimum of one battery powered smoke detector to each floor of a rental property. In addition, any room that has a solid fuel-burning appliance must be fitted with a carbon monoxide detector. All alarms must be tested as working at the start of a tenancy.

Further details of the regulations can be found at: The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

If a property is categorised as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) then more rigorous fire safety regulations must be met.

Taylors Residential Lettings Limited, Company no. 6002742, Regd Office: Suite 1, Invicta Business Centre, Monument Way, Ashford TN24 0HB