Landlord Safety Checklist 2022
What safety requirements are landlords legally required to cover?
- Gas safety. A safety check carried out by a qualified professional is vital, as they will be able to issue the landlord with a gas safety certificate for the property.
- EICR. If the property is an HMO (house of multiple occupations), the landlord must have a valid EICR (the electrical installation condition report) completed prior to the move-in date. Some insurance companies will ask for an EICR to be completed even if it is not an HMO property. But from the 1st July 2020, it has become mandatory for each property to have a valid EICR.
- EPC. Also known as an electrical performance certificate, an EPC needs to have a rating of at least an E for it to meet current legal rental requirements. However, in the near future, EPC standards will be changing. By December 2025, it’s very likely the new minimum EPC rating requirement will be C.
- Smoke alarms. All rental properties must be fitted with working smoke alarms on all floors and carbon monoxide alarms in rooms that use solid fuels.
- Health hazard checks. Alongside the gas safety certification and EPC, landlords should also provide a certificate stating that the house has been thoroughly checked for any health hazards before the tenant moves in.
- Furnishing regulations. If the property you want to rent out is furnished or part-furnished, the furniture must meet furnishing regulations. This means the landlord must ensure that fire safety is met throughout the house and that items such as beds and sofas have a fire safety label attached to them.
- Legionella risk assessment. Checking for legionella is not a legal requirement, however it is highly recommended that you add this to your checklist because it will safeguard your tenants from any potential hazards. As a landlord, you do have a responsibility under the Landlord and Tenant Act 2004 to ensure that the water systems in your property are safe for the tenant.
What is a How to Rent Guide?
A ‘How To Rent Guide’ is an online government document providing advice to current and prospective tenants on the rental process in England and Wales. It details their rights and responsibilities as a tenant, as well as the legal obligations of landlords.
Where can I find the most up-to-date version?
You can find the most recent updated version by searching online or following this link to the ‘How to Rent – The checklist for renting in England’ document.
Who should send the How to Rent guide to the tenants and check they’ve received it?
It is vital that landlords ensure that tenants receive an up-to-date copy of the ‘How to Rent’ guide before they move into the property. At Mashroom, we will automatically send this document to tenants once they pass referencing. However, it is your ultimate responsibility to check that this has been received.
Gas Safety Certification
- A Gas Safety Certificate is also known as a Gas Safety Record and will typically be given to the landlord or owner of a property after a gas safety check has been conducted.
- Landlords are required to provide their tenants with a copy of any gas safety certificates they receive, ensuring they are up-to-date.
- Under the Gas Safety Regulations 1998, you must arrange for an annual gas safety check at the rental property. Once the check is complete, an engineer will fill in a form known as the gas safety record, which will neatly summarise and list all of the checks they’ve carried out on appliances in the home as well as any faults that may have sprung up.
What is a Gas Safety Certificate for?
- It’s the landlords responsibility to ensure their property is safe for their tenants to inhabit. Once your gas safety check is conducted, your Landlord Gas Safety Record should be able to prove that any gas appliances, flues and gas pipework in your property have been checked and are safe.
- The test includes but is not limited to checking that products of combustion such as fumes that can be released and removed safely to the outdoors via the chimney. But it’s also important to check that gas appliances are burning properly and supplemented by an adequate amount of fresh air.
How often should they be updated?
You must ensure that a gas safety check is done every year on each gas appliance/flue. And before any new lease starts, you must make sure that these checks have been done within one year before the start of the lease date.
It is both a legal requirement and in your best interest to carry out gas safety checks often, to flush out any potential problems you may need to fix before they get too serious.
How long does a Gas Safety check take?
- A Gas Safety check will usually last anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour, although the size of your property and complexity of its gas installations and appliances will obviously have an impact on the overall time it will take.
- Another factor which will affect the timing of the gas safety check is the age and quality of your appliances.
- Plus, if your property’s gas installations do require some changes, it’s practical to get the same engineer to carry out the work, which will take more time overall.;
- A tenant can be provided with a copy of the gas safety certificate within a month of the check being carried out. If a tenant is new, they should be provided with a copy of the existing report immediately or they can request it from the landlord.
What will happen if you don’t have one?
- Having a gas safety certificate is obligatory and compulsory as it is enforceable. Failure to have one is punishable by law. If after the initial request the landlord still fails to provide a gas safety certificate, they should be reminded that they are legally bound to do so by Gas Safety Regulations (1998).
- If a landlord fails to provide the gas safety certificate, they can be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Currently, the landlord must arrange in advance for the gas safety check to be carried out every 12 months, in addition to keeping a record of the gas safety reports over the last two years.
EICR stands for electrical inspection condition report. It is a legal requirement for all landlords in England to get an EICR carried out on their rental property and supply this document to their tenant(s).
What is an EICR for?
- The main purpose of an EICR is for the safety of your tenants, and also to avoid damage that will cost you a lot of money to repair.
- The report is essentially an in-depth inspection of your rental property’s electrical systems and the way it has been installed.
- It’s carried out by a professional electrician, and you will receive a grade depending on the workability of your system. These grades are C1, which means you need to fix your system immediately as it is dangerous. C2 means there is a potential for your system to become dangerous so you need to urgently repair it, and C3, means that there is no risk of danger.
How often should an EICR be updated?
How often you should get an EICR done really depends on a number of circumstances – you’ll need to legally do one every five years unless the electrician states otherwise, in which case, you may be required to do one three years after the first report.
How long does an EICR take?
- Typically an EICR will take around 3-4 hours to complete, depending on the size of property and the number of circuits requiring testing.
- There are several elements that are tested during an EICR – the first being how well wires have been earthed and bonded. An electrician will also check your devices; protection against fire and electric shock. They will also assess any damage to electrical fitting and exposed wiring.
What will happen if you don’t have one?
- An EICR is a legal requirement, and it’s highly advised that you get an up to date report done. This is because you are responsible for the safety of those renting your property, and you can be legally prosecuted if something happens in the home and your documents are not up to date. That being said, it’s really important not to overlook an EICR report because if you do, it can call for some very serious consequences.
- A copy of the report must be given to the tenant before they occupy the property. Mashroom will only issue the tenant with a copy of the certificate if you have uploaded it during the property listing process.
- An EPC of at least a grade E is a legal requirement on all privately rented properties in England and Wales. EPCs assess the energy efficiency of the property and tell you the potential energy efficiency rating your property could receive. If you don’t have access to a copy of the EPC, you should be able to retrieve it online by logging into the Landmark Register.
- It is a legal requirement for all landlords in England to supply a copy of the EPC to their tenant(s).
- Certificates are awarded from A (most efficient) to G (most inefficient). A property with high efficiency is more affordable to run, with utility bills like gas and electricity lower than homes with a high inefficiency rating. The average UK home is rated between bands D to E. EPCs also contain information about carbon dioxide emissions, fuel costs and the details of the person/company that carried out the assessment.
- Please note, that by December 2025, it’s very likely the new standard of EPC’s will be a band of C. So looking towards updating your properties is highly worth it and recommended to get a head start on energy efficiency.
Won’t ensure the safety of your property, but is a legal requirement. How often should it be updated?
Each EPC is valid for 10 years, but will only need renewing once a new occupant moves into the property after a decade. That means you can market a property – either for rent or sale – multiple times within 10 years without needing to renew your EPC.
It’s important to note that your fire safety responsibilities as a landlord don’t end with just installing fire alarms. Safety is a major priority, so make sure you’re doing all you can to ensure your tenant is secure.
What other fire safety measures can you take beyond a fire alarm?
- Fire extinguishers. Many landlords and tenants feel happier if there is fire equipment in place should the worst happen. As long as you make sure you are meeting all the required fire safety regulations, there is no problem in providing that little extra safety net. If you provide any equipment such as fire extinguishers, you must also provide the full manufacturer’s instructions to your tenants, making sure that they are fully confident in how to use the equipment safely. You should get a signature from every tenant to prove that they have received the paperwork and received training on how to safely use the equipment.
- Fire blanket. You should also make it a priority to supply a fire blanket in the kitchen with clear instructions on how to use it. Check the LACORS guide for clear guidance on fire safety.
- Fire safety route. Ensure there is clear access to escape routes at all times. Landlords are legally responsible to make sure that their tenants can access an escape route, so ensure that exits are not blocked by any furniture or fittings included in the rental. It’s also a good idea to communicate with your tenants about escape routes to make sure they don’t block exits themselves, though in this case you wouldn’t be legally responsible as a landlord.
Keep in mind that HMO’s do require the following:
- Fire-fighting equipment – and the appropriate training/paperwork on how to use it
- A hardwired smoke detector on every floor of the property
- A fire blanket in the kitchen
- External doors that can be opened from the inside without a key
- Emergency lighting
- Documented fire escape route
- Clear ‘Fire Exit’ signage
- Ensure there is clear access to escape routes at all time
- Ensure any supplied furniture or furnishings are fire safe
Smoke and CO alarms
You may not be surprised to hear that installing fire alarms in your property is a legal requirement, but are you aware of your legal responsibilities regarding carbon monoxide?
Are these legal requirements?
- Carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless gas, which is caused by the incomplete combustion of fuel. Prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to memory issues and difficulty concentrating, as well as vision and hearing loss, which is why it is extremely important to have all alarms in check.
- Landlords are legally required to install a smoke alarm on every floor where there is a room being used for living space.
- A carbon monoxide detector must be installed in every room where there is a solid fuel burning appliance (ie. coal fire or wood burning stove).
How often should they be tested?
- Landlords must check that each alarm is in proper working condition at the start of each new tenancy.
- Fire safety regulations require you to make sure that the alarms are working at the start of each tenancy. We recommend testing them before your tenant moves in, so you can get them fixed before the move-in date if necessary.
- We also recommend you test the alarms in front of your tenant, so they can sign a document confirming the alarms are in good working order.
- Ask your tenant to also check the alarms regularly. Ideally, this would be a weekly check, but monthly checks are also sufficient.
Whose responsibility is that?
As of 1st October 2015, private landlords were required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every floor of their property. However, you are only legally required to have a carbon monoxide detector if you have a solid fuel burning appliance.
We’ve covered all the legal requirements, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing else for you to check! There are still some important elements to consider as a landlord, so cover all your bases!
What else should a landlord be checking?
Landlords have a more general duty of care to protect the health and safety of their tenants. Although you are not legally required to produce formal certificates, there are a few safety measures which are worth considering.
- Legionella risk assessment. Legionella risk assessment is not a legal requirement, but recommended to landlords in the government’s ‘How to Let’ guide.
- Safe appliances. Landlords must ensure all appliances within the property are in safe working condition. Every appliance and plug/adapter should be tested and checked.
- Fire blanket. A fire blanket must be provided in a kitchen, with clear instructions on how to use it. Check the LACORS guide for clear guidance on fire safety.
Tenants have a right to contact their local council and request an inspection of the property if they believe the landlord isn’t carrying out their responsibilities properly. Therefore, as a landlord, it is best to cover all bases and ensure that repairs are completed and safety requirements are up to date to avoid any of this conflict and ensure the safety of your tenant. The requirements of the landlord include covering the following bases:
- No dampness throughout the property
- The property must be structurally sound
- The property must be well insulated and ventilated
- Drainage must be sanitary and include facilities for personal hygiene
- Water and electricity must be provided alongside cooking facilities
- Wastewater disposal should be present
Legionella Risk Assessment
What is Legionella Risk Assessment?
Legionella is a type of bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, a pneumonia-like illness in which severe cases can be fatal. The infection occurs when you breathe in droplets of water that have been contaminated by Legionella. Luckily, the disease cannot be passed from person to person. While Legionella is found in the natural world, the real issues tend to begin when it’s found in domestic water systems. The bacteria survive at low temperatures, multiplying at temperatures between 20-45 degrees.
When is this assessment necessary?
A legionella check itself isn’t yet a legal requirement. However, as a landlord, you have a responsibility under the Landlord and Tenant Act 2004 to ensure that the water systems in your property are safe for a tenant.
All appliances included with the tenancy (white goods to kettles, toasters and TVs) should be checked, inc. plug and adaptor
- It is a landlord’s duty to ensure all appliances within the property are in safe working condition – with every appliance and plug/adapter tested and checked prior to the tenants’ move-in.
- For landlords, it’s good practice to have all your appliances PAT (Portable Appliance Test) tested before a new tenant moves in. After this, smaller appliances should be tested every two years and larger items like fridges and washing machines should also be tested in four-year intervals.
Right to Rent Checks
What is Right to Rent?
- Before the start of a new tenancy, you must check that all tenants aged 18 and over have Right to Rent in the UK. You must also check all new incoming tenants. Take note that it’s against the law to only check people you think are not British citizens.
- Once you’ve decided upon a tenancy agreement for you and your tenants, you’ll need to think about a Right to Rent check.
- To perform a Right to Rent check, you will need to check the ID and Visa documents of your tenants. There can be some hefty fines in store if you do not check your tenant’s Right to Rent and it ends up that they cannot legally rent in the UK.
Who is liable for this?
A Right to Rent check requires landlords establish a tenant’s legal status, and whether they can legally rent a property in the UK. If you purchase referencing through Mashroom, RentProfile (our referencing partners) will conduct Right to Rent checks as part of the referencing process. You will be able to purchase referencing on your dashboard, when you reach this stage of the process.
We hope these key takeaways will prove to be useful in the years to come during your landlord journey. Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at Mashroom as we’re happy to help with any queries.