Are you a Landlord? The following information explains some of your duties that fall under Health & Safety Legislation and Guidance.
A landlord is the owner of a house, apartment,land and or real estate, which is rented or leased to an individual or business. The law is clear that if you are a landlord and rent out your property (or even a room within your own home) then you have legal responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of your tenant by keeping the property safe and free from health hazards. Landlords have a duty of care with regards to property standards and safety, and must always ensure that their property is fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout.
Gas Appliances - Landlord Duties
- The leaflet, Gas Safety (Guernsey) Landlords Guidance Booklet Rev 2016, which is available for download, is aimed at landlords and explains some of the main requirements of the Health and Safety (Gas) (Guernsey) Ordinance 2006. It also gives guidance on how to comply with those requirements.
Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions, and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO is a highly poisonous gas that can kill quickly with no warning, as you cannot see it, taste it, or smell it.
Landlords are legally responsible for the safety of their tenants. Landlords must make sure maintenance and annual safety checks on gas appliances are carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer to ensure their tenants and wider communities stay safe.
If you're a landlord, you are legally obliged to make sure:
Gas pipework, appliances and flues provided for tenants are maintained in a safe condition.
All gas appliances and flues provided for tenants' use have an annual safety check. Your tenants can report you to the HSE if you don't provide one, so it's important to remember! You can set a free email and/or text reminder so you don't forget, visit StayGasSafe.co.uk.
A Gas Safety Record is provided to the tenant within 28 days of completing the check or to any new tenant before they move in.
You keep a copy of the Gas Safety Record until two further checks have taken place.
Maintenance and annual safety checks are carried out by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer.
All gas equipment (including any appliance left by a previous tenant) is safe or otherwise removed before re-letting.
Before any gas work is carried out always check the engineer is qualified to carry out the work that needs doing e.g., natural gas, domestic boiler. You can find this information on the Gas Safe Register website or by checking the back of the engineer's Gas Safe ID card. Encourage your tenants to also check the card when the engineer arrives at the property, and to be aware of any warning signs that their gas appliance is working incorrectly, such as dark or sooty staining, excess condensation, pilot lights which frequently blow out and and error messages on the appliance's control panel.
Safety in the Installation and Use of Gas Systems and Appliances - Approved Code of Practice and Guidance
- Section 36 of the Approved Code of Practice, places important duties on most landlords of domestic property to ensure that gas appliances and flues are maintained in a safe condition, annual safety checks are carried out, and records are kept and issued (or in certain cases displayed) to tenants.
- Landlords using agents to manage properties need to ensure that the management contract clearly specifies who is responsible for carrying out the maintenance and safety check duties, and keeping associated records.
Electrical Installation and Inspection
- Landlords have a responsibility to make sure their rental properties are electrically safe. The website Landlords Electrical Responsibilities & Legal Requirements | Electrical Safety First provides information and recommends the following:
- Have a registered electrician carry out a professional check every five years to get an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) or sooner if the most recent report recommends it.
- If the inspection reveals any action that needs to be taken then work should be carried out within 28 days, all works should be to the current British Standard 7671.
- As the landlord, you are responsible for making sure that the person who completes the check is suitably competent. Using an electrician or firm that is a member of an accredited registration scheme operated by a recognised body will give you the confidence that this has been achieved.
- Make the EICR available to every tenant before they move in and each time the tenancy changes hands.
- While it is not law, it is good practice for:
- All moveable electrical items supplied to have an annual portable appliance test (PAT).
- Protect against potential electric shocks by having a residual current device (RCD) installed and maintained.
- Have a registered electrician visually inspect the electrical installation in-between tenancies.
- There are many factors that contribute to a 'good' electrical installation, such as ensuring:
- Cables are correctly selected and installed in relation to the fuse or circuit-breaker protecting the circuit.
- Sufficient circuits are provided to avoid danger and minimise inconvenience in the event of a fault.
- Satisfactory protective bonding arrangements are in place where required (so any electric shock risk is minimised until a fault is cleared).
- Satisfactory earthing arrangements are in place to ensure that a fuse or circuit breaker can quickly clear an electrical fault before it causes an electric shock or fire.
- A residual current device (RCD) is installed to provide additional protection against electric shock.
- Covers are in place to prevent fingers coming into contact with live parts (broken or damaged switches and sockets should be replaced without delay).
- There are enough sockets for electrical appliances, to minimise the use of multiway socket adapters and trailing leads.
Asbestos - Landlord Duties
- Control of Asbestos - Approved Code of Practice 2013 (rev 2017) [1Mb]
- Where premises are let, rented or otherwise provided by a landlord or in the course of any business, it is the landlord's responsibility to manage the asbestos in line with the General Principles for the Control of Asbestos.
- For the avoidance of doubt, the full extent of this ACoP applies to rented and leased dwellings used for domestic purposes, boarding houses, lodgings, hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation, guest houses and self-catering seasonal accommodation, but not to owner occupier of domestic dwellings.
- Asbestos Management Plan
- The asbestos management plan should include an asbestos register. The register should include:
- The identification of asbestos containing materials that may be on site;
- An assessment of risk from any such asbestos containing materials;
- Identification of measures required to be carried out to ensure that any risks from exposure to asbestos containing materials are controlled;
- Arrangements for dealing with any accidents, incidents and emergencies;
- Arrangements for monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of the asbestos management plan.
- If no asbestos management plan is in place, or no asbestos register provided, work must not be carried out until an appropriate survey of the relevant areas has been undertaken.
Legionella - Landlord Duties
- The practical and proportionate application of health and safety law to landlords of domestic rental properties is that whilst there is a duty to assess the risk from exposure to Legionella to ensure the safety of their tenants, this does not require an in-depth, detailed assessment. The risks from hot and cold water systems in most residential settings are generally considered to be low owing to regular water usage and turnover. A typical 'low risk' example may be found in a small building (eg housing unit) with small domestic-type water systems, where daily water usage is inevitable and sufficient to turn over the entire system; where cold water is directly from a wholesome mains supply (no stored water tanks); where hot water is fed from instantaneous heaters or low volume water heaters (supplying outlets at 50 °C); and where the only outlets are toilets and wash hand basins.
- A simple assessment may show that there are no real risks and are being properly managed and no further action is needed. It is important to review the assessment in case anything changes in the system.
- Implementing simple, proportionate and appropriate control measures will ensure the risk remains low. For most domestic hot and cold water systems, temperature is the most reliable way of ensuring the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria is minimised ie keep the hot water hot, cold water cold and keep it moving. Other simple control measures to help control the risk of exposure to Legionella include:
- flushing out the system prior to letting the property.
- avoiding debris getting into the system (eg ensure the cold water tanks, where fitted, have a tight fitting lid).
- setting control parameters (eg setting the temperature of the hot water cylinder (calorifier) to ensure water is stored at 60°C).
- make sure any redundant pipework identified is removed.
- The risk is further lowered where instantaneous water heaters (for example combi boilers and electric showers) are installed because there is no water storage.
- See Legionnaires' disease - Legionella and landlords' responsibilities (hse.gov.uk) for more indepth information.