The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985
This makes it an implied term of every tenancy that the landlord will keep in repair the structure and exterior of the property and keep in repair and proper working order the installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity, and for sanitation, space heating and heating water. The landlord cannot make the tenant responsible for these repairs. Where a landlord is in breach of these obligations the tenant may be able to sue for damages.
The Defective Premises Act 1972
This imposes obligations on a landlord to take positive steps to inspect their properties and check for reasonably foreseeable defects. The landlord can be liable for personal injury and damage caused by disrepair even though he/she did not have notice of it or know of it.
The Environmental Protection Act 1990
This legislation can be used by tenants and/or the council to obtain improvements to housing which is prejudicial to health.
Gas and electrical safety
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998
Defective gas appliances and installations are responsible for about 30 deaths and 300 non fatal incidents every year.
These regulations require that all gas flues, fittings and appliances are maintained in a safe condition. A safety check must be carried out at least every 12 months by a competent CORGI registered contractor.
A copy of the valid test certificate must be issued to the tenant within 28 days of the check being complete and to all new tenants before they move in.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have a helpline 0800 300 363.
A landlord has a duty of care to ensure that the electrical installation is safe and in good working order. It is recommended that a qualified electrician (NICEIC registered preferably checks the electrical wiring on a regular basis. In single family homes there is no prescriptive time scale for inspections, however in HMOs inspections should be carried out at least every five years. Your contractor should recommend a re-inspection interval as part of his report. The safety certificate will remain valid until that date unless alterations occur or damage arises.
Where this is provided, a landlord has a duty to ensure that they are safe and in proper working order. To fulfil this duty it is advisable that a suitably qualified contractor tests all such appliances and equipment to ensure that they comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.
Appliances should be checked before the start of each new let and at regular intervals. You should retain test reports. Each appliance should be marked with an identifying sticker, signed and dated by the qualified contractor who carried out the tests. In HMOs we may ask to see these reports.
The Consumer Protection Act 1987 and General Product Safety Regulations 2005 require that all electrical goods, furniture and appliances provided by a landlord satisfy general safety provisions.
There is a general requirement that any other items that you may provide in the property, such as bunk beds, high chairs, mowers or step ladders are safe. You are advised to check all items at regular intervals.
Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988
All furniture and furnishing supplied by the landlord must comply with these fire safety requirements. This applies to both new and second hand furniture.
The regulations cover upholstered seating (including chairs, settees, and sofa beds and headboards), children’s furniture, mattresses and padded bed bases, scatter cushions and pillows. All such furniture must be labelled.