Even if you have been exercising the greatest of care, it is possible that your buy to let property nevertheless poses health and safety hazards.
According to a story by Letting Agent Today on the 7th of May, compliance company VeriSmart inspected more than 60,000 let properties and found 4,521 of them in breach of the standards set by the Housing Health & Safety Rating Assessment (HHSRS). All of those properties failed the inspection on at least one count, while some had three or more breaches.
Among the most common failings there were:
- 40% of all properties either missing a smoke detector or one that failed to work properly;
- dangerous stairs – and the risk of tenants falling – in 26% of the places inspected;
- 11% relating to faulty or unsafe electrical installations;
- 7% lacking a functional carbon monoxide detector;
- damp and mould that had penetrated 4% of the properties; and
- in 2% of the properties, structural issues meant that parts of the building might fall and collapse onto tenants.
Local authorities have the power to inspect properties in the private rented sector and to award them a score based on the HHSRS standards.
If a property fails an HHSRS assessment, the authorities then have a range of options including the service of an improvement notice, a prohibition order (preventing the landlord from letting the premises until the faults have been addressed), taking emergency remedial action themselves, or even ordering the demolition of the property concerned.
It is also worth noting that in order to keep your landlord insurance valid, your property should be maintained in a good state of repair at all times