health and safety property management

Whether you’re a first-time landlord or someone seasoned at managing multiple properties at once, health and safety is never something that can be overlooked. Not only do tenants have a right to be able to live in a safe property, they also have a right to feel assured that the property is in fact safe. 

Discover the health and safety considerations that landlords need to make in order to remain compliant with regulations. 

Health and safety for residential property managers

When it comes to health and safety, there’s no cutting corners. Processes need to be followed by property managers to ensure they remain compliant with the law. Underpinning the regulations for residential properties is the understanding that landlords have a legal responsibility to keep their properties in a safe and usable condition for their tenants. 

Tenants should never be left in danger due to negligence surrounding both repairs and prior health and safety checks. This covers tenants against many issues that can arise, including damp, structural issues, gas and electrical problems. 

The main health and safety responsibilities of residential property managers surround fire, gas and electrical safety. It’s important that landlords know what is required of them, but also that tenants know what they can expect from their landlords. 

Find out more about landlord and tenant responsibilities for a rental property, as well as what to do if your landlord is refusing to carry out repairs

1. Fire safety

Fire can devastate your property in a matter of minutes and causes a serious risk to life, so it’s important to ensure that as a residential property manager, you are fully up to date with the fire safety regulations required by law. The UK government states that landlords must follow the following fire safety regulations:

  • Provide a smoke alarm on each storey of the property where there is a room used as living accommodation.
  • Ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers) and in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a coal fire or wood burning stove.
  • Check that there is access to escape routes at all times and inform tenants of evacuation routes.
  • Ensure that the furniture and furnishings they supply are fire safe.
  • Provide fire alarms and extinguishers if the property is a large house in multiple occupation (HMO).
  • Ensure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced once informed and found that they are faulty.

All furniture and furnishing provided by a landlord in a rental property should carry the fire safety symbol on the manufacturer’s label. This indicates that the items are compliant with fire regulation, as set out in the Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety Regulations of 1988 and Reform of 2005. The only items exempt from these regulations are items such as mattresses, pillows and bed covers. 

Any items brought to the residential property by the tenant is not the landlord’s responsibility, although they should encourage tenants to ensure their personal items are also fire safe. 

While the regulations stipulate that a smoke alarm must be provided on each storey of the residential property, the London Fire Brigade recommends that additional heat detectors be placed in kitchens as well as smoke alarms in lounges and hallways of individual flats and houses. This will help to provide tenants with an earlier warning if there were to be a fire in the property.



2. Gas safety

As per government regulation, landlords are required to take steps to ensure the gas safety of their residential properties. This includes:

  • Ensuring that the gas equipment they supply to the property is safely installed and maintained by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • Having a registered engineer do an annual gas safety check on each appliance.
  • Providing the tenant with a copy of the gas safety check record before they move in, or within 28 days of the check.

The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations of 1998 set out landlords’ legal responsibilities surrounding gas safety, including: gas safety checks, a gas safety record and ongoing maintenance. 

3. Electrical safety 

As well as fire and gas safety, landlords have a responsibility to ensure adequate electrical safety for their tenants. 

  • Ensure that each electrical system is safe, for example sockets and light fittings, and that national standards for electrical safety are met throughout the property.
  • Ensure that all appliances they supply are safe, as well as inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every five years.

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations of 2020 ascertain that residential property managers must also supply a copy of the report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test. They should also supply a copy of this report to a new tenant before they occupy the premises.

If any work is required to be carried out to improve the electrical safety of the property, landlords should ensure that this is carried out in a timely manner by an appropriate professional, notifying the tenant of the remedial work.

Housing Health and Safety Rating System

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) was introduced under the Housing Act of 2004 and applies to residential properties in England and Wales. The HHSRS is a risk-based evaluation tool designed to help local authorities both identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety.

If a HHSRS assessment is requested, an environmental health officer will inspect your residential property and consider the chance of potential harm as a result of a health and safety issue, how serious it would be and if there is any extra risk to children or older people.

Property management services with Stanfords

At Stanfords, we offer professional property management services to help free up your time and ensure everything runs smoothly. 

We have professionally managed properties around Lewisham Borough and south east London for more than 15 years, using dedicated and reputable local contractors. Our fully managed service frees your time and offers a buffer between you and the property. We deal with everything from property accounts to legal notices and ongoing repairs on your behalf.

Discover the lettings and management services we offer at Stanfords.