When living in a rental property or viewing one for the first time, it’s important to know what you’re looking for in terms of health and safety standards.
You can always ask your letting agent or landlord to confirm these elements are covered, but by understanding and recognising your rights, you can also look out for these when viewing your new home and ensure you help maintain your home during your tenancy.
Here are four of the most common internal health and safety issues you need to be aware of and some advice on dealing with them:
Mold is very common and is easily caused by condensation build up in homes with cold or warm air imbalances and poor airflow. Every home creates moisture from baths, showers, kettles – even breathing, and if not dealt with properly it can cause respiratory problems, allergies or asthma.
Thankfully, mold is generally very easy to treat and you can even do it yourself, although you should always alert your landlord or letting agent first.
Prevention is always better than cure, so try not to let moisture spread around the house by having an air vent or a small window open when you’re having a shower or boiling water.
Keep central doors shut in these areas and simple things like putting lids on pans when you’re cooking will also reduce the amount of moisture in the air and stop it spreading throughout the property.
You should also keep your home at a warm, stable temperature throughout the year (this doesn’t mean having the heating on 24/7) because it ensures the moisture in the air can’t condensate.
Dampness can lead to mold but generally shows as wet patches on a wall and occurs when a fault in the basic structure of the building allows water in from the outside.
There are generally two types of damp:
- Penetrating damp, which occurs if water is coming through the walls, roof or chimney
- Rising damp, which occurs if there is no damp proof course in a property or if the current one is deficient in some way
Damp is generally caused by a fault within the fabric of the building, so fixing this will be down to your landlord.
Luckily, both types of damp are easy to treat so you should ask your landlord or letting agent to repair it as soon as possible.
If you’re viewing a property and you spot signs of damp, make your letting agent or landlord aware of it immediately so it can be fixed before you think about moving in.
Space, Light & Noise
Overcrowding or inadequate space in a home can affect your health and increase the risk of infections, accidents and make a home less comfortable to live in. This could include small bedroom sizes, lack of natural light from windows or insufficient numbers of bathrooms or toilets.
These issues are difficult to overcome when you’re living in a property already, so it’s vital to make sure the accommodation suits your needs very early on at the viewing stage.
It can be a common problem when it comes to shared accommodation or a house of multiple occupation (HMO), so it’s important you ask as many questions as possible up front. Check how many people are sharing facilities like toilets, baths/showers and kitchens and view any property you are considering renting first to ensure it has natural light in the bedrooms and the room sizes are sufficient for your needs.
If during your tenancy the property gets overcrowded and space, security, light & noise becomes an issue, then make sure you raise the problems to your letting agent or landlord immediately.
Landlords have legal obligations to ensure they adhere to minimum health and safety requirements and if they breach these then it’s important you know your rights as a tenant to help resolve the problem.
Unfortunately, homes are a common target for thieves and rented property is no exception, but feeling secure and safe in your home is paramount and you shouldn’t have to worry about intruders breaking in or your possessions being at risk.
Most modern doors and windows now are very secure with double-glazing, improvements in lock security and solid front and rear doors all helping to protect rented properties from being vulnerable to intruders.
Even older doors and windows can be made sufficiently safe so long as the locks on them are up to standard and the frames and glass are strong enough to prevent intruders.
Some very simple checks you can do on the property are:
- Ensure all the windows and doors shut properly
- Check for previous signs of possible break-ins – things like cracks in door frames can be good indicators
- Check the locks on key entry and exit routes to make sure they are all in working order.
Article Courtesy of: Robert Jones, Director of Property Investments UK – Read the full article here