As a landlord, you are responsible for the safety of your tenants.

Your duties are enshrined in law and failure to comply with the regulations could result in a significant fine or even a custodial sentence.

You are required to perform a variety of checks, but your responsibilities extend beyond the statutory – as a good landlord you will want to go above and beyond to ensure the safety and comfort of your tenants.

It is important to remember too that, in addition to the checks and testing you are required to carry out by law, you must retain the evidence that you have acted appropriately – so make sure you keep all the certificates listed below.

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Gas safety checks

Any gas appliances and flues in your property must be safety checked annually. The checks must be conducted by a qualified Gas Safe-registered engineer. You are now able to carry out the checks any time between 10 and 12 months after the previous check, while maintaining the expiry date of the previous check. If the checks are performed outside of this time, the new deadline date will be 12 months from the date of the latest check.

You must provide your existing tenants with a record of the safety check within 28 days of its completion. New tenants should receive this at the start of their tenancy. You must retain copies of the record for at least two years and if you have taken advantage of the flexible time frame, you must retain the record of any checks until two further checks have been carried out.

Electrical safety checks

The law requires you to ensure that any electrical systems and appliances in your property are safe before the start of a tenancy. It would be prudent to conduct annual checks during a tenancy too, although you are not required to do so.

Houses in multiple occupation require an electrical report and certificate every five years, but more regular testing is recommended. The safety checks should be carried out by a competent person. This means a Part P qualified electrician.

You will also require an Electrical Installation Condition report (EICR). This identifies the condition of the electrical circuits in the property. Residential properties should be tested every ten years, as a minimum. Any subsequent, significant electrical installations must be carried out by a qualified electrician, who should provide a certificate as an addition to the EICR.

If there is a new tenant between EICRs, the system should be checked to identify any obvious issues and evidence of these checks should be retained.

Portable appliances should also be tested. This is called PAT testing and the regulations do not state how often this should be done during a tenancy. Annual testing is recommended and it’s advisable that you do not allow more than two years to elapse between testing. You are not required to test appliances which are owned by your tenant.

Energy Performance Certificate

You must have an up to date Energy Performance Certificate for your property. This features information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs. It is valid for ten years and will include recommendations on how energy efficiency can be improved.

Going above and beyond

Before and during any tenancy, it is imperative that you ensure your property is safe for your tenant to occupy. There are areas of safety for which you are responsible, but for which certificates of testing are not required. For instance, you must fit and test smoke alarms. It is essential that you retain evidence that any checks have been carried out to protect yourself and to reassure your tenant. You should consider the checks and testing required by law to be the minimum that you should undertake. Maintaining the highest standards of safety will take care of your tenant and protect your property.

To read more about the responsibilities of landlords on the website