Our business partners CLEAR Insurance Group explain some of the most common hazards for rental properties and what landlords can do to protect themselves.
As a landlord, maintaining your property and making sure it is free from hazards is one of your main priorities. Not only do you have a duty of care towards your tenants, you will also naturally be keen to protect the condition of your property investment.
Although most rental properties are well maintained and free from safety hazards, even the best maintained properties can sometimes have issues. These could be issues related to damp and mould to pest infestation or roof damage. Whenever an issue like this arises, it’s important that you as the landlord tries to rectify it as soon as possible.
Hazards within the Private Rental Sector (PRS) are measured by the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS), which lists 29 hazards ranked in categories – with ‘category 1’ hazards ranked as the most dangerous.
The common hazards in rental properties
Property inspection and compliance specialist VeriSmart recently carried out a review of over 60,000 rental property reports and inspections. Of these, 4,521 resulted in at least one issue being found – with the most common issue related to missing or non-functional smoke detectors. The next most common hazard related to a risk of falling on stairs between or on separate storeys of a property.
Electrical hazards were the third most common, with other common issues including the presence of damp and mould, water hazards (e.g. uncovered ponds or swimming pools) and the threat of structural collapse.
The most common category 1 hazards
The research revealed the most common category 1 hazards that were being ignored or neglected were:
- Smoke alarms missing or not working
- Carbon monoxide detectors missing or not working
- Falls on stairs between and on the same storeys
The most common category 2 hazards
In terms of the slightly less dangerous but still important category 2 hazards, the most common were:
- Structural collapse and falling elements
- Domestic hygiene, pests and refuse
What to do if these hazards arise in your rental properties?
If any of these hazards are present in your rental property you should be aiming to get them rectified as soon as possible. Either your tenants may report the issues directly to you or you may identify them when carrying out a regular property inspection.
If it gets to the point where council officers uncover the issues with the property during an HHSRS assessment then you will be under pressure to quickly fix the problems or face the prospect of further enforcement action being taken against you.
You may be able to fix some hazards yourself – such as fitting a new smoke alarm – although some hazards may require you to hire a suitable and qualified tradesperson. If you use a letting agency you can also instruct them to handle the maintenance of the property – it’s likely they will already have a list of trusted traders and contractors they can hire to carry out any repairs or maintenance work.
How long do you have to fix a hazard?
When a maintenance issue or safety hazard has been identified, you have a reasonable time to make arrangements for it to be fixed. Obviously, it is in your best interests to fix issues as quickly as possible as hazards that are ignored could get worse and more expensive to fix over time and could put your tenants at increased risk.
Also, the longer you leave a hazard the more likely it is that a local authority could get involved and you could potentially face a fine or enforcement order.
Rectifying issues quickly is also beneficial to help protect the condition of your property and making sure your tenants are happy, improving the chances of them treating the property as their own and renting for longer.
The key to making sure any maintenance issues are not left too long is to establish a good line of communication with your tenants so they can report issues as and when they arise. It is also important that tenants are aware of their responsibilities when it comes to general property upkeep and their obligations to report hazards and necessary repairs to you quickly.
Get a FREE landlord insurance consultation
If your landlord insurance is up for renewal soon, or if you would just like to find out more about the cover provided by CLEAR Insurance Group, contact them today to get a free consultation.
CLEAR Insurance Group have extensive expertise in the property sector and access to a wide range of insurers to help NetRent landlords.
To get a free insurance consultation please click here
Cover features include:
- Wider Cover including subsidence and contents.
- Low excess levels starting at £100 (£1,000 for subsidence).
- Inflation proofing via index linking or “Day one” increases.
- Loss of rental income at 30% based on 36 month indemnity period. (Other limits are available)
- Property owners’ liability cover at £5M (Option for increase to £10M is available).
- Theft and malicious damage by tenants
- Accidental Damage cover
- Including cover for illegal cultivation of drugs (Dependent on Insurer)
- Flexible approach to temporary un-occupancy between 60 and 90 days.
- All tenant and property types accepted.
- Residential, commercial or mixed property.
- Occupied and unoccupied property.
- Single properties or portfolios, including mixed portfolios.
- Contents only option.
Clear Insurance Management Limited is an independent insurance broker which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Registered number 307982. Registered office: 1 Great Tower Street, London. EC3R 5AA.