Health and Safety Responsibilities for Private Landlords
In addition to your duties under the Repairing Standard (which sets out the standard for the condition of your property and important health and safety requirements such as the use of smoke alarms), you must make sure that your property is safe.
By law you must get a Gas-Safe registered engineer to inspect gas pipework, appliances and chimneys/flues every 12 months. You must give your tenant a copy of the gas safety certificate within 28 days of the check being carried out, or before the tenant moves in. You must also keep a copy of the safety check for two years.
Gas safety alert
The Health and Safety Executive has issued an important safety alert. Where boilers are located away from external walls, flues are more likely to run through ceiling (or wall) voids. In such cases when the gas appliance is serviced or maintained it can be difficult, or impossible, to determine whether the flue has been installed correctly or whether it is still in good condition.
Where a flue fault exists in combination with a boiler which is not operating correctly, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO2) could be released into the living accommodation. CO2 is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels. It stops the blood from bringing oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs and can kill quickly, without warning.
From 1st January 2013, if you do not have inspection hatches installed, Gas Safe registered engineers will advise you that the appliance is 'at risk' and will, with your permission, turn off the appliance and tell you not to use it. Please read the full safety alert.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
From October 2013 a change in building regulations requires landlords to fit carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide is know as the 'silent killer' because it is a poisonous gas that cannot be seen, smelt or tasted. Appliances fuelled by solid fuel (coal or wood), oil or gas all have the potential to cause carbon monoxide poisoning if they are poorly installed, badly maintained or incorrectly used. See Law change to tackle 'silent killer' for more information.
Scottish Government Guidance on Electrical Installations & Appliances
This guidance takes effect from 1 December 2015.
Private landlords in Scotland are required by law to ensure that a rented house meets the repairing standard at the start of a tenancy and throughout a tenancy.
One part of the repairing standard is that:
- The installations in the house for the supply of electricity,
- Electrical fixtures and fittings, and
- Any appliances provided by the landlord under the tenancy
Are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order.
Landlords are required to:
- Ensure that regular electrical safety inspections are carried out by a
competent person, and
- Have regard to this guidance issued by Scottish Ministers on electrical
safety standards and competent persons.
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
A PAT test requires a label for each appliance tested. The Institute of Engineering and technology (IET) have forms for providing a record of appliances that have been tested
- Electrical white goods (such as refrigerators and washing machines)
- Electrical brown goods (such as televisions and DVD players)
- Electric fires that are not fixed in place
- Kitchen appliances, such as toasters and kettles
- Hand held electrical equipment, such as hairdryers, and
- Any other appliances provided by the landlord that are not permanently
connected to the electrical installation.
Any appliance which fails to pass a Portable Appliance Test must be replaced or repaired immediately to comply with the repairing standard. The duty to carry out electrical safety inspections does not apply to appliances that belong to tenants, only to appliances provided by the landlord.
Frequency of Inspection
An electrical safety inspection must be carried out:
- Before a tenancy starts, and
- During the tenancy, at intervals of no more than 5 years from the date
of the previous inspection.
The electrical safety inspection does not have to be completed immediately before a new tenancy begins or every time a new tenancy starts, as long as an inspection has been carried out in the period of 5 years before the tenancy starts. The electrical safety inspection must be recorded in an EICR and a PAT report.
When the Duty Applies and Transitional Rules
Any tenant under a new tenancy commencing on or after 1 December 2015 must be provided with a copy of an EICR before the tenancy commences.
Any tenant under an existing tenancy at 30 November 2015 must be provided with a copy of an EICR by 1 December 2016 unless their tenancy ends before that date.
An EICR completed on or after 1 January 2012 completed by a competent person is acceptable, whether or not it in includes a description and location for appliances inspected. However, to be acceptable all EICRs completed on or after 1 December 2015 must have a PAT record attached to it that shows their description and location and a certificate for any remedial work that has been done.
See more information about the repairing standard.
Energy Performance Certificates
A copy of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC PDF) must include the EPC rating in any advertisement including newspaper, property schedules and internet advertising. A copy of the EPC must also be given to an incoming tenant of a property.
Legionnaires Disease - The control of legionella bacteria in water systems.
Legionnaires Disease can be life-threatening and is caused by bacteria linked with man-made water systems such as tanks, pipes and showers with conditions of temperature and irregular use. Landlords have a duty to carry out a risk assessment of their water systems to identify any risk and course of action to manage the risk. Legal standards for Landlords-legionella (PDF)
Fire and Smoke Alarms in Private Lets: Changes to the law
Statutory guidance on requirements for fire and smoke alarms published 01 February 2019.
The main points are:
- One functioning smoke alarm in every room which is frequently used by the occupants for general daytime living purposes
- One functioning smoke alarm in every circulation space, on each story,such as hallways and landings
- One heat alarm in every kitchen
- All alarms should be ceiling mounted and must be interlinked. There is also a requirement for carbon monoxide detectors to be fitted where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance (such as boilers, fires (including open fires), heaters and stoves) or a flue.
Furniture and furnishings
By law, you must make sure that all furniture and furnishings supplied with the rental property meet fire resistance requirements as set out in the Furniture and Furnishing (Fire Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 1988. Furniture incorporating glass such as mirrors, tables or cabinets must comply with BS7449: 1991 or BS7376:1990 as set out in the General Product Safety Regulations 1994.
Tenant Information Pack
From 1 May 2013 landlords have a legal duty to provide new tenants with a Tenant Information pack (PDF.) The pack provides accessible information on private renting, setting out the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords. The pack, which can be provided in hardcopy or electronically, must be provided by the tenancy start date.