Is Your Rental Property Safe?

Is Your Rental Property Safe?

Landlord fined for ignoring dangerous hazards in rental property

The national press have recently reported that a landlord was handed a £2,745 (GBP) legal bill for renting out a dangerous property to tenants, highlighting the need for all landlords and their appointed lettings or property management agents to ensure that their rental property is safe to live in.

According to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), landlords and lettings agents ignore potentially dangerous and potentially life-threatening hazards all too often.

The AIIC report that the most common dangers found in a rental property are:

  • Severe damp and mould
  • Bare wiring
  • Broken windows
  • Dilapidated sheds
  • Overgrown gardens with hidden dangers including concealed barbed wire, broken glass and holes in the ground
  • Large wardrobes and cupboards not securely fixed to the wall
  • Unserviced and faulty boilers
  • Damaged and leaning brick walls
  • No keys for window locks
  • No smoke alarms fitted.

Pat Barber, Chair of the AIIC, says: “We have seen no end of dangerous hazards in a range of properties from radiators, sinks and other fixings pulling away from walls, to window blinds and curtain rails falling off when these items are tested. In one recent property, a clerk was checking in a tenant and needed to check a large wooden venetian blind. With one touch of the controls, the whole thing fell down, the full weight hitting the clerk on the head with such force that he was later diagnosed with concussion. Many families and young children are at risk from negligent landlords, all of whom have a ‘duty of care’ and as such, should be making regular visits to properties – every three months – to check health and safety. They should also respond quickly when a tenant notifies of them of any problems in the property and they should encourage open with dialogue tenants so that problems can be sorted quickly.”

There are recommended time scales for landlords to respond to a request for repairs.

Depending on the problem, some need to be treated more urgently than others:

  • Emergency response – gas and water leaks, serious electrical faults
  • 24 hour response – heating and water systems and other non life threatening electrical problems eg broken windows if not caused by tenant negligence
  • 72 hour response – kitchen appliances and other items that affect the daily life of a tenant
  • Less urgent responses – include things like broken lawn mowers, a fallen fence panel or a dripping tap

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