There are some very compelling reasons why landlords should make absolutely sure that their properties are entirely safe for tenants. The general motto is if a landlord manages their property well then the risks to you as landlord or agent should be minimal; but manage the property badly and the landlords risks are high.
Safety aspects come under criminal law - if a criminal offence is committed landlords can face a term in jail, a heavy fine, or both. In addition, there could be a liability to the tenant for civil damages - these can be substantial.
Civil liability in safety matters is becoming an increasingly important issue for landlords. Now that lawyers actively promote their services and work on a no-win no-fee basis there is an increasing number of accident claims. Damages can be substantial so you must carry specialist insurance.
The Consumer Protection Act (1987) and The General Product Safety Regulations 1994 (European Communities Act 1972) require:
It is a criminal offence for a landlord to supply any item with a property which is unsafe. Some items such as oil heaters, portable LPG heaters, DIY tools, glass furniture and garden tools are particularly hazardous - landlords would be well advised not to supply any of these.
Landlords should not forget to check the property before a new letting to ensure that no items have been left by previous tenants, which could be defective. Landlords should pick this up when they do the Inventory. By keeping the items a landlord provide to a minimum, especially upholstered furnishings and electrical appliances, landlords are reducing their risk considerably.
It is important to remember that landlords providing an appliance or furniture that does not comply with the respective regulations is a criminal offence and may result in:
Regulations regarding safety in tenanted properties are enforced locally by the local authority: Trading Standards, the Health & Safety Executive, Environment Health Officers and local Fire Officers.
What landlords should be aware of in ensuring that they are not open to a successful prosecution is that they can demonstrate that they have carried out their duties with “due diligence”. This legal term refers to the fact that they have taken all reasonable steps to avoid committing an offence and what is more is that a landlord has the documentary evidence available which proves this.
The main areas of safety that landlords need to be concerned about are:
FORMS FOR LETTING PROPERTY
FINANCE AND TAX ON RENTAL PROPERTY
RENTAL PROPERTY REGULATIONS
INVESTING IN BTL PROPERTY
WHAT TO BUY
BUYING OFF PLAN
KNOWING THE RISKS
MANAGING YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY
NON - PAYMENT OF RENT
GETTING YOUR MONEY BACK
THE TENANT WONT MOVE OUT
THE TENANT DOES A BUNK
RAISING THE RENT
REDUCING THE RENT
REPAYING THE TENANCY DEPOSIT
DAMP, MOULD AND CONDENSATION
LETTING RENTAL PROPERTY
LEGISLATION ON LETTING PROPERTY
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
HOUSING ACT APPEAL DISPUTES
THE LANDS TRIBUNAL
RIGHTS OF LIGHT APPLICATION
APPEALS FROM LEASEHOLD VALUATION TRIBUNALS (LVT's)
POSSESSION - SECTION 8 NOTICE
POSSESSION - SECTION 21 NOTICE
SECTION 21 TIMETABLE AND PROCESS
GROUNDS FOR POSSESSION
HARASSMENT BY LANDLORDS
RENT DISPUTES BETWEEN LANDLORD & TENANT
FAIR RENT (RAC)
MARKET RENT UNDER AST
LEASEHOLD VALUATION TRIBUNALS
MODIFICATION OF RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS