Health and Safety When Leasing a Property

A guide to the health and safety laws when leasing out a property

When leasing out a property to tenants, you will be legally bound (Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999) to consider the health and safety aspects of the property.

In most cases, the specifics will be detailed on the lease, but there are basic health and safety requirements that landlords and property owners must adhere to.

What are the landlord's responsibilities?

Every landlord must carry out a health and safety risk assessment. This will be a full analysis of the premises, identifying what might harm people and how such issues can be solved. Consider:

  • What could harm people in the property

  • Who could be harmed and how

  • Deciding on the appropriate actions, considering what you already have in place

  • Recording the risk assessment, and then reviewing and updating this regularly

As part of the risk assessment, the landlord should consider these factors, all of which the landlord is usually responsible for:

  • Fire, gas and electrical safety

  • Asbestos

  • Maintaining a reasonable temperature. General guidance is maintaining a minimum of 16 degrees C, or 13 degrees C if employees are doing physical work.

  • There being enough ventilation, space and lighting

  • Safe equipment

  • Drinking water, toilets and washing facilities

  • Employers’ Compulsory Liability Insurance if you employ anyone in the business

  • The Health and Safety Law Poster needs to be displayed on the premises

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local councils are responsible for making sure you follow the law.

How do I comply with fire, gas and electrical regulations?

If you are the property owner, you are responsible for fire safety. This includes regularly carrying out a fire risk assessment, putting in place safety measures, planning for an emergency and providing tenants with fire information, instruction and training. If you do not, you could either get fined or go to prison. Things to consider during the assessment include emergency routes/exits, fire detection systems, fire-fighting equipment, and the needs of vulnerable people such as those with disabilities or the elderly.

For gas safety, you must maintain any equipment according to the manufacturer's instructions. This may mean annually calling in a registered gas safety engineer to ensure that all pipes and appliances are safe.

A property's electricals can be inspected either by a simple visual assessment, or an extensive accredited survey, depending on the size and complexity of the electrical system. The system should be inspected by a competent individual, such as an approved contractor from the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA), the National Association for Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT), or the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC).

How do I manage asbestos?

An external accredited surveyor should come in to carry out an asbestos survey to find out if you have any and where it is. The material will then be analysed and recorded down, for further repair or removal. Be sure to share this information with anyone that will come into contact with the area, such as builders and cleaners. You could face a fine of up to £20,000 or imprisonment for up to six months otherwise.

How do I manage disability access?

Under Building Regulations, you need to meet the health, safety and welfare needs of disabled individuals. This means that traffic routes, facilities and workstations must all be suited for use by those with disabilities, whether it is limited mobility, impaired sight or loss of hearing.

Melanie Luff

About the author

Mel wrote for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other global industry publications.


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