Safety certificates and regulations
The following regulations must be adhered to whilst your property is let with Strawberry. Once the first certificate is issued to us - if you have the full management service or rent collection service - we will ensure that the renewals are automatically carried out and that you are informed of any works required or recommended. Even if we do not provide your full management or collection service we will still advise you of the expiry date and ensure that we obtain a copy of your new certificates once updated.
The furniture and furnishings (fire) (safety) (amendment) regulations 1993
It is an offence to leave any furniture in let properties which does not comply with the regulations. There are heavy penalties for landlords who do not comply, including six months imprisonment or a £5000.00 fine. The regulations apply to beds, mattresses, scatter cushions, children’s furniture, garden furniture, stretch or loose covers, sofas, settees, seat pads, headboards, pillows, futons, and bean bags. In order to comply the items must be fire resistant and be fitted with a permanent label to this effect. The regulations do not apply to any furniture made before 1950 (although in some uncertain cases proof of date of manufacture may have to be shown), sleeping bags, duvets, bed linen, curtains and carpets.
The gas safety (installation and use) regulations 1998
These regulations stipulate that:- There should be sufficient supply of air available for the proper combustion of any gas appliance in the property There should be adequate facilities for the removal of products of combustion There should be adequate ventilation to enable any gas appliance to be used The landlord must ensure that all gas appliances, fittings and flues are maintained in a safe condition at all times These checks must be carried out once a year by a GAS SAFE registered plumber. Records of all checks and works carried out should be kept and the current certificate should always be provided to the tenant. If any appliance does not meet with the regulations it will be disconnected. On the anniversary of the certificate the renewal will automatically be ordered by Strawberry (unless otherwise arranged) and a copy of the new certificate will be sent to you, with details of any action taken or works required.
The electrical equipment (safety) regulations 1994
This regulation means that the landlord has an obligation to the tenant to ensure that all electrics are safe. Whilst a visible check for frayed wiring and badly fitted plugs can be done easily, Strawberry recommends that the landlord has a Fixed Wire Test carried out every five years and a Portable Appliance Test (i.e. anything with a plug on) carried out every twelve months. This action will reduce any liability the landlord may have if the tenant should suffer harm.
All plugs fitted at the property should be of an approved type which is stamped to comply with BS1363 and fitted with an appropriate fuse.
Building Regulations 1991 and Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations
When the Building Regulations (1991) came into effect it became a legal requirement for any property (built after June 1992) to have a smoke alarm fitted to each floor.
Additional new legislation was introduced in October 2015 as part of a wider effort to improve fire and Carbon Monoxide safety across the UK.
This now means that every landlord (with some very specific exceptions) now has to take precautions to ensure that their tenants are adequately protected. Every rental property will require to have a suitable number of smoke detectors and CO monitors installed throughout the premises. The legislation will be enforced by local housing authorities and failure to comply can be costly as fines can be anything up to £5000. The provision and annual checking of the units is yet another helpful service you can access from Strawberry.
Energy performance certificates
Since October 2008 all properties have been legally required to produce an Energy Performance Certificate. This must be carried out as soon as the property is being marketed, it must be made available to any tenant viewing the property and a copy must be given to all tenants who rent the property. Failure to provide a certificate is a criminal offence and can lead to a fine. An EPC will last for 10 years (subject to certain works being carried out which might make it out of date). Whilst the landlord is not legally obliged to carry out any of the works raised by the EPC there may be some recommendations which could genuinely benefit the property long term and in addition some of the expenditure could be offset against tax.
Important changes came into effect as of the end of 2014 which means that Landlords are now responsible for the Health & Safety of tenants (and other visitors to their properties) with respect to risk from Legionnaires Disease.
The bacteria which cause the disease are known to exist within hot and cold water systems such as those found in standard residential properties and their presence becomes more of a concern when they are allowed to thrive at temperatures between 20 and 45 degrees. Whilst legionella itself is not ‘poisonous’ it can be lethal if inhaled within droplets and therefore must be eliminated from any water which could potentially come in contact with people in the form of an aerosol.
It is now mandatory to carry out a basic risk assessment of the water systems within any building which is to be let and this will include inspection and temperature testing of the cold water storage tank, the hot water cylinder and all the outlets within the property such as taps, showerheads etc. Whilst there is no legal limit set for the frequency of this assessment and its subsequent review, we at Strawberry recommend it be carried out annually (in addition to an interim update if any changes have been made to the water systems within the property).
As you would expect from a reputable agent such as Strawberry, we have thoroughly done our homework, studied the requirements at length upon our clients’ behalf and attended training sessions run by recognised experts in the field. We are therefore in a good position to offer advice, assistance and even templates for the assessments should you wish to carry them out by yourselves.
There are on-going maintenance tasks which will fall to the individual tenants to action and we will be making sure that anyone renting via Strawberry will not only be aware of their responsibilities but will also be provided with the documentation to record the results of any action they take. This is yet another example of Strawberry going that extra mile to make sure tenancies run as smoothly as possible and everything remains ‘in hand’ at all times, avoiding any nasty surprises in the future.
Please note all the above certificates/ services can be arranged for you by Strawberry - for some services payment may be required upfront but we are happy to advise on all aspects of the legislation