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Are you safe?

iStock_000041131170Large-Feet by fire

With the harsher weather hitting a lot of the UK most people will be thinking of the effects on their utilities bills such as their gas and electric. Luckily most recently some of the big suppliers have decided to reduce their charges which is always welcome news but what must be at the front of everyone’s thoughts at this time of the year is the condition of any appliances and whether they are well maintained. If not there could be dire consequences.

Under the Landlord & Tenant Acts 1985 & 1987 and where a tenant is occupying a property under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, which in most cases will be the norm, a landlord is responsible for certain repairs to the property including the structure and exterior of the property. The landlord is also required to keep the equipment for the supply of gas, electricity and water in a safe and good working order.

Of course the landlord cannot fix issues that they don’t know about although there must be a reasonable system of inspection. Areas of concern at this time of year are likely to be your Gas boiler/Central Heating System which may effect any damp within the property. Any of these problems could potentially lead to exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning and respiratory problems resulting in ill health generally.

The best way to ensure that you are being kept safe is to ensure that the boiler and any heating appliances are serviced at least once a year. There should be a certificate available for inspection for every calendar year. Check for servicing certificates, fire & smoke alarms and firefighting equipment such as extinguishers.

Unfortunately there have been too many cases in the past whereby Landlords or their agents have not ensured their tenants are safe which have sometimes led to fatal accidents.

Requirement for repairs can be given verbally or in writing, but it is preferable to issue a written notice as proof of the landlord being made aware of the repairs required. The tenant must then give the landlord sufficient time to carry out the necessary repairs. Do remember though that the landlord would not be held responsible for any breakages caused by the tenant not abiding by the forms of the agreement and not using the property in a ‘tenant-like manner’. For example, a broken window would not be the landlord’s responsibility to repair.

So to stay safe this winter please make sure that your landlord or their agents have ensured that your appliances are safe to use.