A Landlord's Guide to Safety Regulations

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended)

All upholstered furniture made after 1950 is included within these Regulations. The furniture covered by the Regulations includes sofas, settees, seat pads, beds, head boards, pillows, arm chairs, scatter cushions, futons, mattresses and bean bags, but not curtains, carpets, bedclothes (including duvets) and mattress covers. To comply with the Regulations these types of furniture must be fire resistant and in most cases carry a permanent label to this effect. To be 'Fire Resistant' most furniture and upholstery must have passed an 'ignitability test' specified in the Regulations.

If you ask us to let or manage your property, you must remove any furniture which does not comply with these Regulations before the tenancy begins. Any replacement furniture you place in the property must comply with the Regulations.

There are heavy penalties imposed by these regulations on landlords who do not comply with them. The penalties for non-compliance include a maximum of six months imprisonment and/or up to a £5000 fine.

You can obtain further guidance on these regulations from your local Trading Standards office.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994

These regulations came into effect on the 31st October 1994 to ensure that gas appliances are properly installed and maintained in a safe condition so as to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is the responsibility of the landlords of domestic properties that ALL 'Gas Appliances' and Gas Installation Pipe work owned by him are checked for safety at least once a year by a Gas-Safe Registered Engineer and that accurate records are kept of those safety inspections and any work carried out. These records must be provided to the tenant. These regulations also apply to new properties.

'Gas Appliances' - includes any fitted gas appliance, for example:-

  • Central heating system
  • Gas heaters
  • Gas fires
  • Gas cookers

 

'Gas Installation Pipe work' - includes gas pipe work, valves, regulators and meters. Faulty equipment can lead to death and a conviction of unlawful killing on a landlord.
Under the Regulations any appliance that does not conform to the regulations can be disconnected.

Failure to comply with these regulations may jeopardise the life of your tenant and lead to prosecution with penalties of imprisonment or fines up to £5000.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

The above regulations impose an obligation on the Landlord to ensure that all electrical appliances and installations left as part of a let property are safe.

We recommend that all electrical appliances in let properties are regularly checked and serviced.

Failure to comply with these regulations may jeopardise the life of your tenant and lead to prosecution with penalties of imprisonment or fines up to £5000.

As part of our service we can arrange gas and electrical safety inspections if requested.

There are particular requirements for houses in multiple occupancy (HMO's).

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

The following summarised guidance is taken from www.gov.uk, the full guidance can be downloaded by following this link:

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 have been approved by parliament and came into force as planned on 1 October 2015. Private sector landlords are required from 1 October 2015 to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove). After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.

The requirements will be enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.

Landlords should be aware that the regulations do not contain all the fire safety requirements which their premises may be subject to. There are fire safety requirements under other legislation which may be applicable, such as under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

1. What do the regulations require?

The regulations require private rented sector landlords, from 1 October 2015, to have:

  • At least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their rental property which is used as living accommodation, and
  • A carbon monoxide alarm in any room used as living accommodation where solid fuel is used.

After that, the landlord must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.

Linley and Simpson are of the opinion that only installing CO alarms in rooms that house solid fuel appliances leaves both tenants and landlords at unacceptable risk. It is therefore our policy to strongly recommend that landlords also install CO alarms in rooms that house gas boilers and heaters.

2. Who is responsible for checking the required alarms are in working order?

The regulations require landlords to ensure alarms are installed in their properties with effect from 1 October 2015. After that the landlord (or someone acting on behalf of the landlord) must ensure all alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.

After the landlord's test on the first day of the tenancy, tenants should take responsibility for their own safety and test all alarms regularly to make sure they are in working order.

Testing monthly is generally considered an appropriate frequency for smoke alarms. If tenants find that their alarm(s) are not in working order during the tenancy, they are advised to arrange the replacement of the batteries or the alarm itself with the relevant landlord.

3. When must the alarms be checked?

For each new tenancy beginning on or after 1 October 2015, landlords must check that the required alarms are in working order on the first day of the tenancy. The first day of the tenancy is the date stipulated in the tenancy agreement, even where the tenant decides to actually move into the property on a later date. The intention of the regulations is to increase the safety of private sector tenants by ensuring that they have working alarms at the beginning of the tenancy.

4. What if the tenant won't allow the landlord access to the premises to install the alarms or take the remedial action?

The landlord should write to the tenant to explain that it is a legal requirement to install the alarms and that it is for the tenant's own safety.

If the local authority has reasonable grounds to believe the landlord has not complied with the regulations a remedial notice will be issued, detailing the suspected breach and required action. If the landlord proves compliance, either by becoming compliant or proving they were already compliant, to the relevant local authority or demonstrates they have taken all reasonable steps, other than legal proceedings, to become compliant within 28 days of the notice being issued then they will be exempt from the civil penalty – which could be up to £5,000.

5. What type of alarm should be installed?

The regulations do not stipulate the type of alarms (such as hard wired or battery powered) to be installed. Landlords should make an informed decision and choose the best alarms for their properties and tenants.


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