Tag Archives: PAT Testing

Electrical safety and conditions reports – Landlords Question Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Electrical safety and conditions reportsElectrical inspections are to me a very grey area. I rent all of my properties unfurnished as over the years I have found that most of my tenants prefer this. Therefore I do not require PAT testing to be carried out.

I would like some guidance as to how often I need my properties inspected for electrical safety.

I know that my electrician would like it to be every 2 years but is this really necessary?

Thanks

Jan Martin – member of The GOOD Landlords Campaign

 


Landlords Guide To Health and Safety Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Health and SafetyA Simple Landlords guide to Health and Safety written by Syd Lewis

When I first started renting properties some 20 years ago, to be legal, all you had to do was have a rent book and if you wanted to ensure you could get possession of your property at the end of the tenancy you drew up an AST. It seems these days Landlords are required to perform more and more tasks, which has not only resulted in having to spend additional time managing their properties but also increased cost. In my work as a professional inventory clerk, I often meet new property owners who apart from perhaps having some vague idea that they need a gas safe certificate and an inventory as part of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme know of little else. This article is for them just to give a few pointers in plain English about some other aspects to consider about health and safety when letting a property.

First the stick, penalties and enforcement, if you for whatever reason, fail to comply with any of the statutory regulations for Landlords and rented property you could be fined up to £5000 or even receive a custodial sentence. Further, if you need to make a claim on your insurance and you are in breach of the regulations your insurance is likely to be void.

Now the Carrot, in my years as a Landlord one of my great pleasures it to hear my tenants tell others that I am a good Landlord and how they like living at their rented home. Apart from the obvious ego massage, there are other benefits, they stay longer at the property reducing void periods and the hassle of finding, vetting and establishing a new landlord and tenant relationship, they tend to take greater care of the property and are willing to pay a higher market rent the live there.

First and foremost, it is the landlords responsibility the make sure the property they let is habitable, in health and safety terms, adequate heating and ventilation, lighting, proper sanitation and more recently good insulation. It is also important for Landlords to make sure tenants understand their responsibility too. I have found a great aid to this, is not just to tell tenants what to do but also to provide a “tenant’s pack”. This includes a welcome note, important information, e.g. how to turn off the water in an emergency, what they should do if there is a problem with the boiler, how to properly ventilate and look after the property to avoid excessive condensation and the resultant mould, operation manuals for any appliances at the property. As a matter of thoroughness, I also recommend that you have copies of any certificates for the property in the tenants pack even if you are not required by law to do so.

INSULATION

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC):
EPC, is a document that states the energy efficiency of a property in bands such as A.B,C, D, etc. stating its typical energy use for the year and estimated cost. The certificate is valid for 10 years. You are required to provide a copy of an EPC to any new tenant. If it is in your tenants pack, you have fulfilled your duty.

FIRE

Furniture and Furnishing Fire Safety Regulations (FFL):
Since 1997 all upholstered furnishings must be fire resistance and have the appropriate fixed permanent labels attached: Beds (including headboards, bases and mattresses), sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles, children’s furniture, garden furniture that can be used in the dwelling, scatter cushions, seat pads, pillows. This is not normally an issue these days as most modern furniture is already labelled. However, should the label come loose or be taken off then you will be in breach of the regulations. A good inventory will list each item that has a FFL and help identify any such items that may have had their label removed or damaged during a tenancy.

Fire Extinguishers and Blankets:
There is no compulsory requirement to provide fire extinguishers or fire blankets in single occupation tenanted properties (please note there are special regulations for HMOs and converted building over two stories), but again, this may be a wise precaution, at least in the kitchen area. Having made the decision to provide fire extinguishers, the landlord or agent must then arrange for regular servicing – usually on a 12 monthly basis. You will need to keep up to date records and keep a copy in tenants pack.

Smoke Detectors:
Since 1992 it is required that, all smoke alarms are electrical mains supplied and have a battery backup. There are specific requirements as to which type and where they should be place according the buildings structure and layout. It is the landlord’s duty to make sure the correct devices are fitted at the correct location and to ensure that all devices are working properly when a new tenant takes up occupancy. Thereafter, it is the tenant’s responsibility to regularly check the device by looking for the green light, pressing the self-test button to ensure it is working and when necessary change batteries. Cleaning should be carried out by a competent person and manufactures instructions should be followed. The Landlord needs to make sure that the tenant is aware of their duty and it is a good idea to have this in writing and ensure that there is operation and cleaning advice in the tenants pack.

GAS

Gas Safe:
Landlords are required by law to have an annual gas inspection on all internal gas installations, this must be carried out by a registered Gas Safe Engineer who will upon passing the gas appliances as safe, issue a Gas Safe Certificate. You must ensure that you provide a copy of the certificate to your tenant. If it is in your tenants pack, you have fulfilled your duty.

Carbone Monoxide Detectors:
There is no legal requirement for Landlords to fit Co2 alarms. However, it is a good idea to have them, the principles to follow are those used for a smoke detector. They should be fitted 1m from the boiler and manufactures operating instructions put in the tenants pack.

ELECTRICAL

Periodic Electrical Testing:
If a property is a new build then it should have a “Domestic Electrical Installation Periodic Report” which states the electrical system is safe to use, if not then the property is not habitable. All electrical systems deteriorate over time, the Electrical Safety Council recommend that a periodic electrical test be carried out on rented property every 5 years, a suitability qualified electrician must carry this out. You should keep a copy in your tenant’s pack.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT):
There is no direct statutory obligation on Landlords or agents to have PAT checks carried out on the electrical system or appliances. However, under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994, both of which come under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, there is an obligation to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe. Also by having regular tests carried out it is a landlords best defence against negligence and acts as corroborative proof that an electrical item was working/ undamaged at the beginning of a tenancy or during a deposit dispute. A copy of the PAT report should be kept in the tenancy pack.

BIOLOGICAL

Legionnaires Disease:
Legionella are bacteria common in artificial water systems such as storage tanks, pipework, taps and showers. People can catch the disease if they inhale into their lungs tiny water or vapour droplets carrying the bacteria. Different properties will require differing approaches – a new build property with a combi-boiler presents less risk than a Victorian terrace with an old water system. If you think, you may have an issue you can go to HSE website and read their free booklet on risk assessment. Upon having completed your risk assessment, if there is no need for further action simply keep a record that no action is required.

Damp and Mould:
Is usually caused by excessive condensation and in most cases can be attributed to the tenant, but not always. Landlords need to be aware that under Healthy Housing and Safety Risk Scheme 2006, Local Authorities can serve you with an improvement notice and fine you. The best protection against this is to have conducted an assessment for condensation and ensure that the property has adequate heating and ventilation. You should also provide your tenant with appropriate instructions on how to avoid and control condensation.

Pets:
The issue here are fleas and potential new tenant’s allergic reaction to an active protein in the salver of a cat. The simplest, measure I have found is to have agreed with the pet owning tenant that they will pay for a professional clean at the end of the tenancy. It is also important to establish the level and quality of the clean required.

Vermin and insects:
Regardless of who is at fault, if a property becomes infested with insects and or vermin, it is always in the Landlords best interest to get it sorted out quickly and by a professional. You can sort out who pays afterwards; fact is if the tenant refuses to pay, you would need to get it sorted anyway.

About the author of this Post

Sydney Lewis A+ Inventories

Syd Lewis has been a private landlord for over 20 years, he is an accredited member of the National Landlords Association (NLA), Residential Landlords Association (RLA), Sponsor of the Good Landlords Campaign, a full member of the Association of Professional Inventory Providers (APIP) and a Certified Electrical Portable Appliance Tester (NIPIT). He is passionate about what he does which is providing residential inventory services, PAT testing and marketing floor plans for Agents, Landlords and Tenants. Inventories start from £56.00 to find out more see:-


Oven Cleaning is one of the biggest issues in a rented property Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

ovenOven cleaning is one of the biggest issues and this article is to help Landlords present this particular item in their property in its best condition for an inventory inspection and help tenants bring an oven back to its initial clean state when leaving the accommodation.

Let’s put it into perspective, the cleanliness of a property makes up 51% of tenancy deposit disputes and some of which can be attributed to people forgetting or missing an item to be cleaned, another is that differing people have differing ideas of what is clean. Let me give you an idea how we all think the same but differently.

Picture a cat in your head,
How big is it?
What is it doing?
What colour is it?

While we have all just seen a cat in our minds eye, some cats will be small, medium, large. It might be sleeping, sitting, jumping around and any colour you want. Nevertheless, it is still a cat. The same is true for cleaning, someone might have actually worked very hard to clean a property but yet it is not you to your high standard. Maybe they just don’t know how to do the task correctly and yes some are just simply too lazy to do it. It is a rare situation that we know which of these statements is true for a given household and it might be a combination of all of these factors.

There is a continuum for the level of cleanliness form: never been cleaned, attempted but still dirty, cleaned to an average household standard up to what we call in the inventory profession “cleaned to a high domestic standard” and “cleaned to a professional standard” the best of course being a professional clean.

Here is a list of key phrases I use when describing the cleanliness of an oven from best to worst:
1. As New
2. Cleaned to a professional standard
3. Cleaned to a high domestic standard
4. Clean to a domestic standard
5. Partly cleaned
6. Needs finished clean
7. Not clean.

I must add that fortunately, most inspection I do I only have to decide if the cooker/oven has been cleaned to a domestic or professional standard.

If you look at the picture below, this is an oven an oven cleaned to a high standard but its condition is excluded from our discussion on cleaning. This is a worn oven and unless you have prior information, to this picture, it is not possible to say if this is through damage or due to age and fair wear and tear.

 

This oven is clean but through age and use, it is marked and even rusted at the sides.

Then we have the oven that is clean to a high domestic standard that is to say it is grease free but there are still baked on marks.

 

You should also watch out for chemical residue, many of the excellent oven cleaning products on the market leave residue marks on surfaces if you don’t wash off the product fully, which technically means the oven is still partially dirty, need a finish clean.

There are several very good cleaning products on the market. But there is one that I prefer to use it gets the job done and is fairly easy to use and normally takes a clean to domestic standard to a professional clean level. It is a strong chemical so you have to be careful and follow the manufactures instructions it is “Oven Pride”. Please note that I don’t have shares in the company and I am not getting any benefit for mentioning this product my motivation for mentioning it is to   help anyone who reads this article in particular Landlords and Tenants.

About the author of this Post

Sydney Lewis A+ Inventories

Syd Lewis has been a private landlord for over 20 years, he is an accredited member of the National Landlords Association (NLA), Residential Landlords Association (RLA), Sponsor of the Good Landlords Campaign, a full member of the Association of Professional Inventory Providers (APIP) and a Certified Electrical Portable Appliance Tester (NIPIT). He is passionate about what he does which is providing residential inventory services, PAT testing and marketing floor plans for Agents, Landlords and Tenants. Inventories start from £56.00 to find out more see:-


Are Private Landlords Soft Targets? Guest Articles, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Are Private Landlords Soft Targets?In this time of austerity, we must all put our shoulder to the wheel, do our bit, and pay our fair share. However, over the last few years with all the new requirements for Landlords and the resulting costs and additional work and some of the more recent developments, I wonder if Landlords are seen as soft targets for income generation?

It is well publicised that in addition to Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) certain Local Authorities (LA) are now requiring private landlords to be licensed before they can rent their property for which they are charge a fee. To add to this Lewisham Council, for example, intends to not only fine any property owners found to be committing an offence under the Housing Health and Safety Regulation System but also charged an administration fee for doing so. The LA sees both of these situations as a new source of revenue. Continue reading Are Private Landlords Soft Targets?


Creating opportunities by letting to pet owners Guest Articles, Landlord News, Landlords Stories, Latest Articles, Property Investment Strategies, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Creating opportunities by letting to pet ownersAt present I let several on my properties to tenants with pets. Being a pet lover myself I have always been open to doing so. However, as a landlords I accept there are risks and over the years I have worked out a system which makes me feel comfortable letting to pet owners.

This also makes good business sense as almost half the UK population owns pets.

Being open to letting with pets helps maximise the returns on all rental properties. Continue reading Creating opportunities by letting to pet owners


Finding A Good Independent Inventory Provider Guest Articles, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Inventory for Landlords and TenantsMost Landlords do not realise that Agents normally outsource the production of residential property inventories to specialist inventory companies.

Ultimately, if you are unhappy with the inventory service, i.e. the quality of the report or price, you may insist on using another firm as it is the Landlord and Tenant who must actually agree the inventory and pay for the service. But be warned, estate/letting agents do this stuff on a daily basis and they usually have a good reason for what they do, how they do it and who they work with. Continue reading Finding A Good Independent Inventory Provider


There is more than one type of Inventory Guest Articles, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Inventory of InventoriesThere is more than one type of Inventory, in fact, there are three main types, property inventories, insurance/home inventories (very big in USA) and business inventories that track materials and stock.

I want to discuss only one type here, which can be used for a secondary purpose.

It is an inventory of a property to be rented, which can also be used as an insurance inventory in certain cases. Continue reading There is more than one type of Inventory


Syd Lewis of A+ Inventories Camberley GOOD Landlords Campaign Sponsors

The GOOD Landlords CampaignSyd Lewis of A+ Inventories Camberley

I am a Landlord and my company A+ Inventories provides reliable, high quality, professional residential inventory services, PAT testing and marketing floor plans for Letting and Estate Agents, Trusts, Associations, Property Managers, Solicitors, Private Landlords, Relocation Companies and Tenants. We cover the areas of Berkshire, Hampshire, Middlesex and Surrey.

Our reports are impartial, detailed, and easy to read. They include embedded colour digital photographs and are normally produced within 24 hours of the property inspection. We can email the report to you as a PDF file or if you prefer print bind and send them to you by special delivery. Continue reading Syd Lewis of A+ Inventories Camberley


Rental Decorating Tips HMO's & Student Lets, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management

Know your market. Are you targeting students, couples, professional singles, holiday or executive renters? What level of return are you anticipating? Each of these markets will require a slightly different approach to the way in which you decorate your property.

Neutral colours are still the norm for stylish rental properties and a polypropylene carpet which is bleach cleanable on underlay is also a good idea. It’s always best to consider putting a better quality carpet down, although there are some ok looking, cheap, felt back carpets at around £4/ sq metre- they really won’t last or look as good for as long as a better quality one. Light colour carpets can also be off putting as tenants will worry about marks so consider wood flooring or even a vinyl in some areas. Continue reading Rental Decorating Tips


Property118.com Website Awards 2012 Staffordshire Website Awards 2012

We are delighted to announce the Property118.com website awards for Staffordshire.

Judging decisions were based on a combination of powerful analysis algorithms and human experience. Click here for further information about the awards and the judging process.

View the winners from other counties by clicking here.

So without further ado, the winners are:-

For the Accountant Category
Mitten Clarke Ltd
The Glades, Festival Way, STOKE ON TRENT, ST1 5SQ

For the Electrical Testing and PAT Category
R B Services – Pat Testing
Wayside House, Hammerwich, BURNTWOOD, WS7 0JL

For the Estate Agents Category
Webbs
153 Avon Road, CANNOCK, WS11 1LF

For the Gas and Heating Engineers Category
Gas Services Tamworth Ltd
2 Albert Road, TAMWORTH, B79 7JN

For the Mortgage/Finance Broker Category
Business Financial
Watling Court, Orbital Plaza, CANNOCK, WS11 0EL

For the Plumber Category
Brenden Fern Plumbing & Heating
27 Paradise Street, STOKE ON TRENT, ST6 5AG

For the Solicitor Category
K J D Freeth
Churchill House, 47 Regent Road, STOKE ON TRENT, ST1 3RQ


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