Landlords of privately rented accommodation, have a legal obligation to ensure that their properties and tenants are kept safe.
Some of this legal criteria criteria covers gas and any electrical appliances, which should all be provided in good working order and with safety tested.
To ensure this, all Gas appliances must be checked by a registered Gas Safe engineer every year, all electrical appliances must carry the British Safety Standard sign and the landlord must ensure furnishings are fire resistant and meet safety regulations.
The landlord must show you safety certificates so that you can see when the gas and electrical appliances were last checked.
If you are the Tenant and have any concerns about furnishings and fitting in your dwelling, there are some questions you should ask your landlord –
- Has the electrical wiring in the property been checked lately?
- Are sockets, switches, light fittings and so on checked every year?
- Is there a regular maintenance programme for gas heaters and appliances?
- Are the chimneys and flues cleaned and checked regularly?
- Is the house registered with the local authority as being lived in by more than one household (multiple occupation)?
As The tenant you can ask your landlord to fit and maintain carbon monoxide detectors, these are not legal requirements, however it is in the landlord’s best interests to do this.
Under the 2004 Housing Act, your landlord must ensure there are adequate escape routes in the property and explain to you where they are and how to escape. The landlord needs to establish where the fire exits and alarms are if they living in a large or high level building and make all tenants aware of this.
If your property is in a high level building and a fire breaks out never use the lifts, take the stairs instead.
With the tenants count how many doors you might need to go through to escape. It can be hard to see in smoke and they might become confused about where they are.
You need to make the tenants aware that all exits are kept clear, even ones in a communal area and the landlord must do checks on this.
Fire doors must be kept closed. They help to slow down the spread of fire and will give you extra time to get out, fixing door guards or automatic door releases may help ensure doors get closed.
A landlord must make sure door and window keys are available and these should be kept where everyone can find them – ideally close to the door or windows in question.
If you are worried your landlord isn’t doing enough to ensure your safety you can contact the environmental health officer at your local council for advice.