The recent case of a landlord hit with a £2,745 court bill for letting a dangerous property, highlights the need for all landlord and agents to ensure that their properties are safe to live in. Unfortunately, all too often, landlords and agents neglect potentially dangerous and life-threatening hazards, according to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC).
The most common dangers found in properties are severe damp and mould; bare wiring; broken windows; dilapidated sheds; overgrown gardens with concealed barbed wire, broken glass and holes in the ground; large wardrobes and cupboards not securely fixed to the wall; unserviced and faulty boilers; damaged and leaning brick walls; no keys for window locks; and no smoke alarms fitted.
Pat Barber, Chair of the AIIC comments: “We have seen no end of dangerous hazards in a range of properties from radiators, sinks and other fixings pulling away from walls, to window blinds and curtain rails falling off when these items are tested. In one recent property, a clerk was checking in a tenant and needed to check a large wooden venetian blind. With one touch of the controls, the whole thing fell down, the full weight hitting the clerk on the head with such force that he was later diagnosed with concussion.
“Many families and young children are at risk from negligent landlords, all of whom have a ‘duty of care’ and as such, should be making regular visits to properties – every three months – to check health and safety. They should also respond quickly when a tenant notifies of them of any problems in the property and they should encourage open with dialogue tenants so that problems can be sorted quickly.”
There are recommended time scales for landlords to respond to a request for repairs. Depending on the problem, some need to be treated more urgently than others:
– Emergency response – gas and water leaks, serious electrical faults
– 24 hour response – heating and water systems and other non life threatening electrical problems eg broken windows if not caused by tenant negligence
– 72 hour response – kitchen appliances and other items that affect the daily life of a tenant
– Less urgent responses would include things like broken lawn mowers, a fallen fence panel or a dripping tap
The AIIC is committed to excellence and professionalism in the property inventory process and works hard to ensure that all landlords, tenants and letting agents understand the importance and benefits of professionally completed property inventories.
For further information on AIIC, please visit www.theaiic.co.uk.