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More Calls For Smoke Alarms To Be Compulsory

More Calls For Smoke Alarms To Be Compulsory

Fire Service Calls For 2013
Smoke Alarm Law To Be Enacted

The Government passed a law back in 2013 requiring private rental sector (PRS) landlords to provide smoke alarms in all UK rental properties.

However, this new bill is still under public consultation and as yet it has not been brought into force and some local authorities claim that this is putting tenant’s lives at risk.

Now there are further calls from the fire service for more new laws to be introduced to make sure all landlords, both social and private sector, install smoke alarms in all rented properties.

Mandatory smoke alarms are among the key issues to be discussed at the Local Government Association’s (LGA) annual fire safety conference due to be held in Gateshead next month 10th – 11th March 2015.

The call for UK landlords to install smoke alarms in rental properties forms a central part of the LGA’s key report ‘The Fire and Rescue Service: Making our Nation Safer’, which was launched on Saturday 7th February 2015.

The report highlights a series of proposals on how UK fire services can improve fire safety for tenants, including calls for electrical wiring in rented properties to be inspected annually, the same way UK PRS landlords are obliged to obtain gas safety certificates (CP12’s) every year.

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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:

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Landlords Should Be Aware Of Their Responsibilities and Legal Obligations

Landlords Should Be Aware Of Their Responsibilities and Legal Obligations

A large number of private residential properties are being rented out to tenants because the owners have moved out but found it difficult to sell the property on.

In fact, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), many people are choosing to rent out homes they cannot sell.

This has led to an influx of reluctant or “accidental” landlords to the Private Rented Sector, who just want to have enough income coming in from the property to be able to afford the mortgage payments.

These reluctant landlords have little or no knowledge or understanding of the PRS, the legislation or regulations governing safety and often don’t know how to get the best out of the asset they have.

Ignorance is no defence in the eyes of the law and landlords who do not comply with the 70+ pieces of legislation currently in force in the UK can face large fines and even imprisonment. Even reluctant landlords have duties, responsibilities and obligations and the law demands that these are not ignored.

Legal 4 Landlords offers reluctant landlords the following advice:

All Landlords need to protect their property investment and along with regular maintenance should always take out comprehensive landlord insurance for the good of both the property and the tenants living in it.

The Gas Safety Regulations 1998 requires landlords to have all gas appliances checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer and attain an annual CP12 certificate. Failure to comply will lead to a heavy fine.
• Gas safety compliance is vital and a lack of a valid safety certificate could mean the property is left empty for a prolonged period of time, rather than occupied by paying tenants.

Smoke alarms also need to be fitted to ensure the safety of tenants and should be installed on every floor and tested regularly.
• Contact your local fire service to enquire if they are involved in any fire safety incentive schemes and it may not cost anything – some well resourced fire services do fit smoke alarms for free in properties occupied by tenants claiming certain types of benefit.

Protection against thieves is paramount to preserving a no claims bonus on landlord insurance.
• Locks ought to be fitted on every door, with door chains for extra security. Padlocks are also recommended for sheds, garages and gates.
• Double glazing and burglar alarms also add to the safety of a property

To get the best out of short-term lettings landlords should always thoroughly tenant reference all would be tenants on application.
• Landlords need to ensure that the tenant are who they claim to be, have a sound financial history, no undisclosed criminal convictions, are employed at where they state they are employed and are solvent enough to be able to afford the rent and associated bills that come with a home.

Making sure the rent comes in on time every month is a real concern for many landlords and could cause them financial stress paying the mortgage on the rental property if rental payments are either late or not forthcoming.
• Many landlords are now using Rent Guarantee insurance to ensure their rental cashflow remains uninterrupted, insurance cover is subject to terms and conditions.

Get educated and learn how to be a better landlord
• Find out what other successful landlords in your area are doing and copy them.
• Attend local landlord groups or property networking events and learn from like minded people who can help with problems or share knowledge that could take a reluctant landlord and turn them into professionals who profit from property whilst providing quality homes for tenants.

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