As a landlord, or as a letting agent acting on the landlord's behalf, you have a legal obligation to ensure that your accommodation is completely safe for your tenants.Several statutory regulations and general common law requirements say you must ensure that appliances are working correctly to guard against the dangers of carbon monoxide and electrocutions.Another important point is that your landlord's insurance policy may be invalid if you do not meet your legal obligations in this regard.
Every rental property supplied with gas or has any sort of gas appliance, from central heating boilers to gas stoves or gas fires, require an annual Gas Safety Certificate. These certificates are issued only by heating engineers registered with theGas Safe Register.The Gas Safe Register replaced CORGI (Council for Registered Gas Installers) as the only legally recognised gas safety register in the UK on 1st April 2009. Certificates are valid for a year from the date of issue and must be in place whenever a new tenancy begins. In addition, your tenant must be given a copy of the certificate.The cost of these inspections and certificates can vary depending on the engineer and the work involved, for example if there are additional servicing costs, but most will cost from �30 to �100. The LandlordZONE Directory link below will provide access to gas engineers but it is up to you to verify they are Gas Safe Registered.
Landlords' electrical inspections and certificates are also important to ensure the safety of your tenants. They also help you to prove that you have taken the necessary steps to avoid accidents.Although currently in the UK there is no legal requirement to have an annual electrical inspepction and certificate, landlords are strongly advised to do this and their insurers often insist on it.All electrical inspections and certification should be done by a qualified electrician who is registered with the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installers and Contractors (NICEIC).The electrical inspection and certification can often be carried out at the same time as the gas inspection, where the company (engineers) concerned is qualified to do both - this saves time and disruption for landlord and tenant.There are two main types of electrical inspection and certification:
Landlords are advised to have a full electrical system inspection carried out every five years to ten years maximum.This inspection checks the condition and safety of the wiring throughout the property and the safety of the electrical installation - fuse boxes, consumer unit, circuit breakers, earthing etc in relation to the latest wiring regulations.These inspections vary in cost but should be in the range of �90 to �250. The electrician will issue a "Periodic Inspection Report for an Electrical Installation" which says the electrical system is safe.
It is also a good idea to have an electrician carry out PAT testing on all electrical appliances in the accommodation every year - ideally when the gas checks are done. Portable mains powered electrical appliances should include ALL those appliances supplied with the property.It is particularly important to check any second-hand appliances you have purchasd for your tenants. New ones should already be safe, but keep all purchase receipts so you can prove when and where purchased and the age of all appliances.The purpose of the PAT is to ensure that all portable electrical items provided with the property are electrically safe. PATs typically cost around �5 - �20 per appliance.
As landlord or agent you cannot be held responsible for the safety of any appliances (gas or electric) introduced by the tenant to your property. However, some appliances, such as mobile gas heaters, could invalid the building insurance, so be vigilant if you do periodic inspections.Landlords (or their agents) should always carry out safety inspections at tenancy changes, removing any appliances introduced by previous tenants and inspecting appliance flexes, plugs, sockets and fuses. You should also check the operation of fire and burglar alarms.Ensure that tenants are always given copies of operating (safety) instructions for ALL appliances supplied. Always use a safety check-list so that you can prove that an inspection was carried out prior to a new tenancy and that things were entirely safe at the time of the tenant change.