Whether you’re buying your first buy-to-let property, renting out your own home because you don’t need to live in it yourself for a while, or are a landlord with several different properties to rent, making sure that you provide a safe and habitable property for your tenants is the first priority. As a landlord, you are responsible for any repairs and safety concerns that your tenants might have about their home, so it’s important to make sure that everything is up to scratch before they move in, and regularly maintained throughout the year. Here are some safety essentials to check off your list before you hand over the keys to a new tenant.
Getting the boiler serviced is an important part of making sure that your property is safe for a new tenant, especially if it hasn’t been serviced in a while. As a landlord, you are responsible for making sure that the boiler is serviced each year, but even if it’s been less than a year since it was last done, it might be more convenient to book it a little early and get it done before the tenants move in. A service will check that the boiler is in good working condition, running efficiently and is not posing any carbon monoxide risks. You should also install carbon monoxide alarms in the property, which can alert the tenants immediately if the boiler starts leaking this poisonous gas.
If the boiler is rather old, or not working as efficiently as it should, it’s in everybody’s best interests to get a replacement. You can find out more about back boiler replacement or upgrading the home’s boiler to a combi boiler system from the easy to follow guide on Boiler Central; a site that allows you to easily find the right boiler for your home and book installation in just a few easy clicks.
Legally, you should provide smoke alarms in the property to alert tenants of any potential fires that could pose an immediate risk to them. You will want to get smoke alarms that are loud enough to wake your tenants up at night should there be any smoke. In addition, smoke alarms will also deter some tenants from smoking cigarettes in the property, so there are benefits for everybody. Usually, smoke alarms are installed in the kitchen where there is a higher likelihood of fires, but if you wish, you can have one installed in every room.
Secure Doors and Windows
Nobody wants to deal with a break-in at home and your tenants will surely feel the same way. Before you hand over the keys, it’s important to check that all the windows and external doors to the property are secured. Test them with the key to ensure that they lock and unlock easily and make sure that any child safety locks, particularly on upper floor windows, are operating correctly.
A home’s electrical system is designed to last for many years when installed correctly, but it’s always worth making sure that the wiring in the home is safe before you rent it out to a tenant, particularly if you are renting out an older property that might not have had a re-wire for some time. Get a trained electrician to test the electrical wiring and make sure that it is all in good condition; issues like fraying, exposed wires or broken sockets can lead to serious risk of fire. If the electrical wiring is not up to scratch, a rewire could be in order before you allow the new tenants to move into your home. This can be quite a large job, so it’s worth leaving at least a few weeks in advance for making this check as it could delay the tenant’s move-in date otherwise.
Obvious Health Hazards
Finally, check the property over for any obvious health hazards. If you have been living in the property yourself for some time, bear in mind that there could be some signs of wear and tear that you’ve gotten used to, but might pose a health or accident risk to a tenant that does not know it is there. Fraying carpets and broken laminate floors or tiles could be slip and trip risks, and fitted units that come with the property should be secured to the wall. If there is any paving, decking or steps outside of the property, make sure that these are stable as any loose steps or paving could cause a serious accident to a tenant who isn’t aware.
Regardless of whether you plan to have a health and safety routine in place, it’s worth paying attention to these above areas specifically before you allow a tenant to move into your home. Health and safety hazards not only pose a serious risk of harm to the people living in your property but can also be a lot of hassle and cost to you.