If you are thinking of renting out your home, you must consider these things to avoid some common pitfalls of private renting:
New national fire safety guidance was published in July 2008 to provide specific recommendations for landlords, tenants and enforcers. You can see it at www.rla.org.uk/landlord/guides/housing_act/lacors_fire_safety.shtml .
Since 1 April 2009 only Gas Safe engineers can carry out work on gas appliances and installations in your home. If someone other than a Gas Safe engineer does the work, you could be risking the safety of all occupants. You can find a local registered engineer at www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or by calling 0800 408 5500. All Gas Safe registered engineers have an ID card with their licence number and a photograph. If you think an engineer is not registered, call 0800 408 5500.
Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 landlords must arrange maintenance by a Gas Safe registered engineer for all pipe work, appliances and flues that you own and have provided for your tenants to use. If you are a landlord, you must also arrange for an annual gas safety check to be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. A record of the safety check must be kept for two years and a copy must be given to each existing tenant within 28 days of the check being done. A copy must be given to new tenants before they move in. If you want to know more, you can download a free leaflet at www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or by emailing "Landlord leaflet request" to marketing@GasSafeRegister.co.uk
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) enforces gas safety regulations. If you fail to comply with regulations, the HSE will take enforcement action that may result in a substantial fine and/or a custodial sentence. For more, see www.hse.gov.uk/gas
If you suspect a gas leak you should immediately:
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that you can't see, taste or smell. It is released from the incomplete combustion of carbon containing fuel eg gas, coal. This can happen when domestic appliances such as boilers, fires and cookers are wrongly installed or maintained or when a chimney, flue or air vent is blocked.
Accidental exposure to carbon monoxide kills more than 50 people in England and Wales each year. It can kill without warning in a matter of minutes and can cause brain damage from acute and chronic poisoning incidents. Look out for sooty or yellow/brown staining on or around appliances, pilot lights frequently blowing out or pilot light or flame burning orange or yellow instead of blue.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are difficult to detect because they are the same as many other common ailments. They include headaches, tiredness, being confused and feeling sick. Other people in your property may have similar symptoms, which may be less severe when you are away from the property. If you have these symptoms and think they could be caused by carbon monoxide:
You can protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning by:
You can see a leaflet "carbon monoxide are you at risk?" at www.dh.gov.uk/publications
Each year more than 30 people die and nearly 4000 are injured from electricity in UK homes. The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has a guide, the "Landlords' guide to electrical safety", as part of its campaign to improve electrical safety in privately rented property. It recommends these checks:
An energy performance certificate (EPC) provides information about the energy efficiency of a home. All homes built, sold or let as a whole or as a self contained unit must have one. This requirement will be enforced by Trading Standards (or Building Control for new homes). An EPC is produced after a home is inspected by an accredited domestic energy assessor (DEA). You can see details of accredited DEAs at www.epcregister.com . Landlords must make the EPC available free of charge to prospective tenants at the earliest opportunity, such as when they are first given written information about the property or view it, and before any rental contract is entered into. They are valid for 10 years and can be reused as many times as needed within that time. You can see more at: