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Health risks to tenants

Just earlier this month Shelter released research telling us that one in ten landlords isn’t gas safe. But there are more threats to your safety than explosions and poisonous gas, and last week the charity discovered that the health of one in nine renters has been affected by the failure of their landlords to carry out basic repairs.

Over a third of the 4,000 tenants surveyed have damp problems, one in five has a leak, and one in eleven has electrical hazards somewhere in their home.

Shelter knows as well as any landlord that rogue landlords with dangerous properties are very much in the minority, but it’s still important to publicise research like this. It increases awareness among landlords about their obligations, among tenants about their rights, and among authorities that rogue landlords need cracking down on.

That in mind, here’s a quick recap of a landlord’s obligations with regards to their tenants’ health and safety:

Keeping your property safe

The law says that your tenants have a right to live in a property that’s “safe” and in “a good state of repair”. A property that is defined as being in disrepair is one that is “harmful to health” or causes a “nuisance”. In statutory terms, the former category includes:

  • Damp, condensation and mould
  • Pest infestations
  • Broken glass
  • Falling plaster
  • Decaying stairs
  • Faulty gas or electrics
  • Blocked drains or sewage problems
  • Excessive levels of noise
  • Damaged asbestos
  • Smoke or gas fumes

A ‘nuisance’, in statutory terms, includes anything that poses a risk to the public or disturbs other people in their home. This could include leaks or floods running into other flats or loose roof tiles falling into the street below.

Another of our blogs, managing buy to let property repairs, lists features and appliances that you’re automatically responsible for repairing. You can’t refuse a reasonable request to carry out a repair you’re responsible for, but you are allowed a reasonable time frame to get it done. I recommend acknowledging all repair requests in writing, along with how long you think you need to get the necessary materials and have the work done.

Other useful articles

Periodic property inspections – Warning signs to look for when inspecting your rental property.

Bad repairs and rogue traders – How to find a reputable trader for a repair job.

Self-managing your buy to let property – Hints and tips on running a rental business without the help of a letting agent.

Read the original blog entry...

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Amelia Vargo is an online marketing executive for CT Capital. Amelia writes for Turnkey Mortgages, Turnkey Landlords, TurnKey Bridging, TurnKey Life and Commercial Trust.