Winter is coming, and early forecasts predict that it will be a cold one. Now is the time for landlords with buy to let investments to carry out some fire safety checks.
As a landlord, you are legally required to ensure that electrical equipment and electric circuits are safe and in good working order. A majority of household fires are caused by electrical malfunction. To help landlords, we have put together a checklist of the Health and Safety responsibilities that you must adhere to.
Smoke alarms must be installed on every floor in a home. Ideally they should be connected so that if one is triggered, all alarms sound. Test that all are in good working order and replace back-up batteries annually. In any room where there is a solid fuel appliance, such as a wood burning stove or open fire, there should be a carbon monoxide alarm.
Portable Appliance Tests (PAT)
You should have an annual PAT test carried out on all appliances that have a plug. Also check all electrical cables for wear and tear, and check that plug sockets are not loose.
Residual Current Device (RCD)
All modern consumer units (fusebox) have a Residual Current Device (RCD) fitted to prevent electric shocks. They also provide added protection if an appliance has an electrical fault by shutting off the power to help prevent electrical fires.
Electrical Installation Condition Report
You must have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) completed every five years – this must be done by a registered electrician.
Chimneys Cleaned Annually
Chimneys should be cleaned annually, ideally just before winter, to ensure that nesting birds and leaf fall during the summer and autumn does not create a fire hazard in the stack.
Although you may not have them in your own home, in a rented property you must provide a fire extinguisher in all high risk areas, such as in the kitchen. These need to be tested regularly, and you must also have adequate fire safety signage in place. Consider providing a fire blanket for kitchens too.
It is important to remember that landlords who invest in property can be held liable for any injury or fatality that occurs within their property if there is evidence of negligence. If any surveys state that improvement work is needed, it is vital to have this work carried out immediately by qualified professionals.