Having a safe, clean and inviting property to let will not only set you apart from local competitors, but it will also help you to comply with the law.
Before you start advertising properties to let to tenants, you must first ensure you have performed a comprehensive safety check to make sure the property is up to scratch.
We’ve highlighted some of the main areas to check to help you get your property on the market as soon as possible and in front of a selection of great tenants.
This is by far one of the most important safety checks you must complete before letting your Leicester property to tenants. By law, a landlord must supply a gas safety certificate within 28 days of each annual gas safety check (if there is a gas installation)
Make sure you check the certificate and address any problems, should there be any.
Next, you must ensure you have an up to date energy performance certificate (EPC). All rental properties MUST have this certificate and as of April 2018, all privately rented properties must have an EPC rating of at least E.
To be a proactive landlord, you should present your EPC to any potential tenants who are looking to rent your property as soon as possible.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors
Smoke detectors must be installed in every room with living accommodation to comply with the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations. Carbon Monoxide detectors must be installed in any rooms that contain a solid fuel burning consumption device.
You must make sure you check these alarms and detectors regularly to ensure they are working correctly and every time you take on a new tenant.
All landlords have a responsibility to ensure all electrical components such as plug sockets are in working order. Make sure that any wiring is working correctly and that they are neatly stores away, whilst being easily reachable in the event that any repairs are needed.
Any old, faulty wiring or old sockets can lead to shock, fire and death so landlords must make sure these components are thoroughly checked before letting a property to new tenants.
Condition of the Property
There is a selection of things you should look for to ensure the condition of the property will not put tenants at risk. Some of the most important factors to look for are as follows:
- Damp: damp walls and floors in a home may have serious health effects on particular individuals. Some people are more sensitive to mould and damp conditions and could develop sore throats, wheezing, eye irritation or in some cases, skin irritation
- Security: make sure that locks on doors and windows are fully functional. Not only will tenants be put off by a property that has weakened security, but if it goes unnoticed, potential tenants could be at risk in their new homes.
- Trip and fall hazards: things such as loose floorboards, broken stair bannisters and broken or uneven tiles are all serious potential risks to tenants. Make sure that these kinds of accidents are prevented by checking the condition of the property.
- Temperature: a property that has excess heat can cause dehydration, breathing difficulties and infections, whilst a property that is too cold can lead to colds, flu and pneumonia. Landlords must make sure they keep the heating supply in working order and apply adequate heating that tenants can run at a reasonable cost.
Furniture and furnishings
If you are letting a fully furnished or partially furnished home, you need to make sure that any furnishings comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations. These regulations were put in place in 1988 to set the level of fire resistance domestic furniture.
Furniture items that are covered by the regulation include:
- Beds (including headboards and mattresses)
- Nursery furniture
- Scatter cushions and pillows
- Garden furniture
Furniture and furnishings that are NOT covered by the regulation include:
- Antique furniture
Landlords should check all furniture to ensure it complies with the law. Furniture items that do comply should have a permanent label – if you notice any furniture, new or second hand, that does not have this label, it may not comply and should be replaced.
Space, lighting and noise
Whilst these are not immediately obvious, especially with the other elements of a safety check, they are still just as important and should be a vital addition to your safety checklist.
Firstly, you must ensure your property provides a sufficient amount of space for the number of tenants that are applying for rent with you. Not only is it illegal to let a property to more people than the property can safely fit, but overcrowding can also cause accidents around the home.
Secondly, you should make sure that the property has adequate lighting conditions. A poorly lot home can cause a number of complications to tenants such as eye strain, trips and falls and in some cases, low mood.
Lastly, you should consider noise levels. Excessive noise from in and around the home can cause lack of sleep, headaches, poor concentration and even anxiety. To overcome this problem, allow tenants to view properties at different times of the day to assess noise from the area and neighbours.
Chemicals and hazardous substances
There are a number of harmful chemicals and substances that could be present in a home, especially in older homes from the 50’s and 60’s.
The most common issue could be gas leaks. Faulty gas appliances such as hobs can cause carbon monoxide to leak out into the property causing suffocation. Ensure all gas appliances are working correctly.
Whilst materials within the home that contain asbestos are generally safe, if they become damaged or broken in any way they can release harmful fibres. If you notice any damaged materials containing asbestos, seek professional advice to remove it.
Lead can be found in multiple places around the home and can cause nervous disorders, mental health issues and behavioural problems. Paints with higher levels of lead can be more commonly found in older homes. Dissolved lead is usually only likely in private water supplies and can be identified by rusting pipes which can cause rust to be visible in the water coming out of the taps.
If you have any questions about renting out your properties, contact our friendly and professional team today.