Whilst there are over one hundred pieces of legislation with which a letting agent should be familiar, three come particularly to mind when it comes to advising landlords about the basic responsibility they have to the safety of their tenants, as well as helping landlords avoid a £5,000 fine or six months in prison for non-compliance!
1. The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended). Most furniture purchased new after 1st March 1990 should be marked with a display label (depicting a smoking cigarette) showing that it complies with this regulation. There should also be a permanent and non-detachable label stating compliance. Bed bases and mattresses should have a label stating that it meets BS7177. The aim is to improve safety by requiring all furniture and furnishings in rented properties to meet the “match test” criteria.
The regulations apply to all upholstery and upholstered furniture, and loose fittings, permanent or loose covers including: beds, mattresses, pillows, armchairs and cushions, but excludes carpets and curtains.
2. The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 For all rental property, the regulations require that work to gas appliances and fittings shall be carried out by a qualified Gas Safe Registered engineer. Gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed and thereafter at least every twelve months. A copy of the safety check record must be given to any new tenant prior to occupation and thereafter within 28 days of the annual check.
3. The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 The regulations state that all electrical equipment supplied is safe, although there is no specific definition of “safe. The least landlords should do is to check all appliances between tenancies for obvious signs that they are unsafe, and check that they carry the CE symbol. Information manuals should be supplied if the safe operation of the item relies on specific know-how.
Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA
CEO – Oakfield