Safety And Legal Requirements

Energy Performance Certificate

An Energy Performance Certificate is a document which states the energy efficiency of a building. This is based on the way the building is used and presents the owner with options on how the efficiency could be improved.

An EPC must be provided to any prospective tenant (or buyer) of a property when it is rented out (or sold).

Consent To Let

If you have a mortgage, you must obtain consent from your mortgage lender.

Electrical Safety Requirements

Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, Part One, Chapter Three, states that ‘the electrical installation within a rented property is to be adequate and safe.’

One way to meet this is to follow the technical rules in BS 7671, Requirements for Electrical Installations (otherwise known as the Wiring Regulations), published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Whilst the Wiring Regulations are non-statutory, they are often used to demonstrate compliance with a statutory obligation. The Scottish Building Standards Division (SBSD) Technical Handbooks, for example, state that a new
installation conforming to the standard set in BS 7671 will satisfy the safety requirements for electrical installations in the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Failure to provide safely installed and maintained electrical appliances can lead to prosecution as it is a criminal offence. Possible penalties for failing to comply are as follows:

– Your property insurance may be invalidated
– A fine of £5,000 per item not complying
– Six months’ imprisonment
– The Tenant may sue you for civil damages
– Possible manslaughter charges in the event of death(s)

These regulations are enforced by the Health & Safety Executive. To avoid legal prosecution, it is advisable for landlords to have periodic checks completed by a qualified electrician.We recommend that an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is carried out.

An EICR is an inspection on the condition of an existing electrical installation, to identify (in order of priority) any deficiencies against the National Standard, BS 7671, for the safety of electrical installations.

– if any of your electrical circuits or equipment is overloaded
– any potential electrical shock risks and fire hazards in your electrical
– any defective DIY electrical work
– any lack of earthing or bonding

The Portable Appliance Test uses a machine to test the electrical plugs through a range of safety checks. It also includes a visual check on electrical appliances and their plugs and cables.

Gas Safety Requirements

Landlords have a legal requirement to ensure a Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate is completed.

Fire Safety Requirements

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989, 1993 and 2010) set levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery.

The items required to comply to Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 must display labelling to indicate the ignition resistance of each item of furniture, with the exception of mattresses, seat pads, pillows, bed-bases, scatter cushions, loose covers (sold separately from the furniture) and stretch covers.

Items Requiring To Comply Are:
  • Furniture intended for private use in a dwelling, including children’s furniture.
  • Sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles. Furniture in new caravans.
  • Nursery furniture.
  • Garden furniture which is suitable for use in a dwelling.
  • Beds, head-boards of beds, mattresses (of any size).
  • Scatter cushions and seat pads.
  • Pillows.
Items Not Required To Comply:
  • Antique furniture or furniture manufactured before 1950.
  • Bed clothes and duvets.
  • Curtains.
  • Carpets.
  • Sleeping bags.
  • Pillowcases.
  • Loose mattress covers.
Smoke Alarms And Carbon Monoxide

You must ensure you have a smoke alarm in the rental property before the tenant moves in. The main points relative to smoke detectors as set out in the statutory guidance are:-

  • There should be one or more functioning smoke alarms installed in the property
  • The number and position of alarms is to be determined by the size and layout of the property
  • There should be at least one alarm on each floor
  • If there are multiple alarms they should be interlinked
  • Any smoke alarm installed or modified after 3rd September 2007 must be mains powered, including replacement alarms

We recommend that a Carbon Monoxide detector is placed in the property.