Being a landlord can be rewarding but, as it comes with many responsibilities, it can be fairly challenging too.
A variety of matters fall under a landlord’s purview and many of them are paramount to the safety and welfare of your tenants. Ensuring that measures are in place to keep your property safe is also a legal requirement – and yet you might be surprised by how often landlords are unsure of these obligations.
The main responsibilities include:
As a landlord, you’re responsible for the safety of your tenants when it comes to fire risk. You should make sure that all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in good working condition and that they’re tested regularly.
Specific fire safety regulations for communal areas, flats and apartments should also be followed accordingly.
Cover in case of fire is often a key part of landlord insurance policies so be sure to make yourself aware of what protections you have for such a scenario.
Gas and electrical safety
You’re also responsible for ensuring that all gas and electrical equipment is safe to use. This includes the boiler, chimneys and any other gas appliance as well as all electrical items. You should have a gas safety check carried out annually and provide a gas safety record to show that the requirements are met.
It’s important to note that the check must be carried out by a Gas Safe Register engineer.
Whilst the tenant is responsible for keeping the property’s interior in good condition, as the landlord, it’s up to you to ensure that the exterior and structure are in working order. If your tenant notices any issues relating to this, they should bring them to your attention immediately so that you can arrange any repair work.
Damp can cause health problems, particularly for the more vulnerable, so it’s vital that any reports of damp are dealt with as soon as possible. While some small areas of damp can be addressed easily, larger issues might require the help of a professional.
Other damage that comes under the responsibility of a landlord include sanitary fittings and heating and hot water systems. Repairs must be carried out promptly if there is an issue with any of these.
To gain access to the property, you’d normally need to give your tenants at least 24 hours’ notice and agree a time at which to investigate and carry out any repair work.
Finally, it’s important to keep open the line of communication between you and your tenant to help to resolve any problems quickly and smoothly. Tenants can take action if a landlord fails to meet health and safety responsibilities, so it makes sense to encourage open and honest conversations.