Letting your property safely: the often overlooked responsibilities landlords need to be aware of

May 1, 2024

When it comes to letting a residential property, landlords have a lot to do to ensure that they are providing a safe home for their tenants (more commonly referred to as contract-holders in Wales). With so many requirements to adhere to, some key responsibilities can often be overlooked. Here we highlight three major risks and how landlords can tackle these to let their property safely.

What are the often overlooked responsibilities landlords should be aware of?

Asbestos – Asbestos are fibrous minerals which were typically used as a building material for insulation between 1950 and 2000. Coming into contact with asbestos fibres can affect the lungs, resulting in conditions such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Landlords should keep a record of the location of any asbestos in their property and protect it from any potential damage by occupants. Existing asbestos can be managed if it is in good condition, but damaged or likely to be disturbed asbestos should be assessed for repair, enclosure or removal by licensed Health & Safety Executive contractors.

Legionella – Legionella is a pathogenic bacteria which is commonly found in stagnant water. Inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water can cause Legionnaire’s disease. Legionella could be more of a problem when properties have been vacant for an extended period and prior to letting out the property to new contract-holders, landlords must assess the risk of exposure and ensure hot and cold water systems are working correctly.

Furniture – Landlords can do as much as they can to prevent accidental fires from starting in their properties. In addition to installing, maintaining and regularly testing fire, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, thought should also be given by landlords to the furniture they choose to include in the property. Upholstered furniture including chairs, stools and sofas should be made from fire resistant materials and must display a label stating this. These pieces of furniture should also be positioned away from cooking and heating appliances.

According to the National Residential Landlords Association, electrical causes accounted for 28% of all fire claims in the five years to November 2023. Landlords can tackle this issue by testing and repairing any electrical faults within the wiring or replacing defective appliances.

Why do landlords need to do this?

The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, which came into effect in December 2022, changed the way in which landlords in Wales rent their properties and failure to comply with the new legal obligations included in the Act could lead to significant financial penalties. Landlords are obliged to ensure that at the start of and during the length of the occupation contract, the property is both in repair and fit for human habitation. There are 29 matters and circumstances which determine whether a rental property is fit for human habitation.

How can landlords keep up to date with any changes?

The Rent Smart Wales service assists Welsh Government by keeping landlords, as well as agents like us, informed about rental news and developments and providing relevant training opportunities to ensure compliance with the latest legislation. The service even has a handy section on its website dedicated to useful guides covering fire safety, asbestos and more to promote safe and health homes for contract-holders.

As a leading letting agent, we have the experience and expertise to help renters find great, safe properties in Cardiff and help landlords let their properties with minimum fuss. Call us on 02920 626252 or visit https://thomashwood.com/.

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