Renting property can be a bit of a gamble, especially through a private landlord. Recently the private rented sector has come under scrutiny, and the government are putting certain standards in place to ensure the public’s right to safety in their own homes. A landlord has a lawful responsibility to ensure a person’s home –the property they live in – is kept safe and free from hazards to a tenant’s health.
The main hazardous elements a landlord is required to ensure safety of are gas, electrical and fire safety. For example, in regards to fire safety a landlord must ensure all furniture provided is fire proof, and supply fire alarms and/or extinguishers. They must also guarantee that all gas equipment is safely installed maintained and inspected by a registered engineer annually. The tenant should also be provided with a copy of this gas safety record, favourably before they move into the property. It is also the responsibility of the landlord to ensure all electrical systems and appliances are kept safe.
But today the government has decided that private landlords need to go further, and announced a review into standards in the private rented sector. The main issue to be highlighted is if there is a need for compulsory installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide poisoning is unfortunately not uncommon, as more stories keep arriving in the press. This month, a landlord from Derbyshire has been handed a prison sentence after one of his tenants died from carbon monoxide fumes, and two others fell ill but recovered. But in September, a review claimed half of the population are at risk from the “silent killer” as they do not have a carbon monoxide alarm.
A discussion paper from the government will be published in December, in quest of views from professionals in the housing sector and other interested organisations. CLG Minister Baroness Stowell announced in the Lords:
“We will not take forward a wide ranging fundamental review into property conditions in the private rented sector, considering very carefully the case for requiring landlords to install carbon monoxide alarms and/or smoke alarms in their properties. We will also engage widely with interested organisations including landlord associations, housing charities, tenant groups and professional bodies.”
She added “In addition to considering whether smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be required in privately rented housing, the review will also look at the minimum standards tenants should expect when renting a property.”