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  • Buy-to-Let

    Most common hazards ignored by landlords



    Data from the UK’s only combined lettings inventory and property compliance specialists, VeriSmart, has highlighted the most common hazards being missed by buy-to-let landlords within their rental properties.

    In the last year, VeriSmart conducted over 60,000 property inspections and reports on rental properties within the buy-to-let sector, with 4,521 of these resulting in at least one Housing Health & Safety Rating Assessment (HHSRS) per inspection (some with more than 3) with the following common issues the most prevalent.

    Smoke detectors

    Worryingly, 40% of all health and safety assessments flagged either a missing or non-functional smoke detector.

    Stairs

    26% of assessments noted a danger of falling on stairs and between or on separate levels of a house.

    Electrical issues

    Electrical issues accounted for 11% of all hazards flagged during health and safety assessments.

    Carbon monoxide

    7% of assessments found a lack of a working carbon monoxide detector.

    Damp and Mould

    Damp and mould were flagged as a risk in 4% of properties.

    Water

    Uncovered ponds or swimming pools posed a hazard in 2% of all properties.

    Structural integrity

    The threat of structural collapse or falling elements was also an issue in 2% of all properties.

    Fire hazards (1%), excess cold (0.6%) and domestic hygiene (0.6%) were also an issue in a small proportion of properties.

    Founder of VeriSmart, Jonathan Senior, commented: 

    “While many landlords are providing up to scratch accommodation, it’s really quite worrying that we’re seeing so many fail to address some of the most serious hazards in the home.

    The lack of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and the danger of falling on stairs ranking as high as they do is particularly worrying. These are classed as category one hazards and so there is no excuse to have them present in a rental property.

    With the introduction of the Fitness for Human Habitation Act in place since the 20th March this year, along with many additional changes in legislation, landlords and their agents are now more at risk of being sued by tenants for breach of contract for unfit properties. It is therefore more vital than ever that landlords ensure their properties meet the required minimum health and safety standards.”

    Top 10 Hazards

     

    Hazard

    Hazard as a proportion of Health & Safety Assessments

    Smoke Detectors missing or non-working

    39.5%

    Falls on stairs and between and on levels

    25.6%

    Electrical issues

    11.1%

    Carbon Monoxide Detectors missing or non-working.

    6.5%

    Damp & Mould issues

    3.9%

    Ponds & Swimming Pools uncovered and a hazard to young people

    1.9%

    Structural collapse & falling elements

    1.8%

    Fire Hazards

    0.9%

    Excess Cold

    0.6%

    Domestic Hygiene, Pests & Refuse

    0.2%

    Top Cat 1 Issues being ignored or not corrected

     

    Smoke Detectors missing or non-working

    Carbon Monoxide Detectors missing or non-working.

    Falls on stairs and between and on levels

    Top Cat 2 Issues being ignored or not corrected

     

    Structural collapse & falling elements

    Domestic Hygiene, Pests & Refuse

    SEE ALSO  -        Regulatory risk of non-compliance     

    UP NEXT -            Mitigating risk through using lettings agents 

    DON'T MISS -       Mitigating business risk through insurance 

    NOW WATCH:

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    Do battery smoke/ carbon monoxide alarms conform to government regulations ? On 3 Bed single family house is one per floor in landing and hallway sufficient ?

    Also , is there a electrical testing certificate regulation ? TIA

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    Apologies if this is something obvious, but could someone explain the risk of falls on stairs? I would have thought that any property with stairs would have this risk to some extent, so what would make it severe enough to be noteworthy?

    Thanks,

    Tim

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    Perhaps no handrail, gaps between spindles being too large or spindles missing, loose carpet?

    Some of the mid terraces in my area have very steep stairs with fairly small treads and a lot don't have handrails. 

    I am refurbishing one at the moment and put one in only a couple of weeks ago. The house had been a let property for years but never had one so someone could easily have been hurt. 

    My labourer even slipped down whilst helping put the hand rail up but then he slips over his own feet so that was no surprise.

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    Yes.  That's his work outfit!  He likes it because it matches his favourite ten-gallon hat.

    In reality he seems to slip up a lot because he is 6 foot 3 and incredibly well built, thanks to a 16 year long gym obsession, but only wears size 8 and a half shoes.  .

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    Thanks James, feels like as long as the stairs aren't too steep and are in good condition then shouldn't be an issue...

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    I just had this with a mid terraced house, I bought it from a landlord too.  No smoke detector on the 2nd floor, no handrail for the stairs from the 2nd floor.  They also had an electrical cable coming from the house, running along a fence powering a shed at the end of the garden.

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    James B yes highlights the inherent problems

    Stairs and Landings are a fave for EHO`s under HHSRS and I can see their point

    I have several ex LA properties where the spindles are not spindles as such put  drab horizontal planks of painted wood.

    These are on the stairs themselves and the landings. The worry is with toddlers who of course like we all did see this area as an indoor playground and they love to climb them and/or stick their heads through the gap and slide down banisters etc .  Many a child`s favourite pastime as twas mine is to hide on the landing well past their bedtime  and wait till  mummy or daddy  walk up the stairs and then thrust their head through the rails and  shout BOO . Then they get their ears stuck so they cannot retract their head so laughter ends in tears. So think child friendly always in houses and remember some adults are just big kids at heart anyway so they actively encourage this type of behaviour

    Dont ask me what the specified legal gap should be but there is one .

    I find stats on household injuries quite fascinating.

    Did you know cutting open an avocado is rather hazardous and often can lead to nerve and tendon damage in the hand . This report made interesting reading....

    ``Avocados should carry warning labels following a rise in knife injuries from cutting into the fruit, a doctor has warned. Leading plastic surgeon Simon Eccles has said he treats about four patients a week at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for such wounds, with staff dubbing the injury "avocado hand``

    Four patients a week !!!. Crazy

    Please sign up for my 1 hr avocado handling course . Only £19.99...

    (avocados and protective gear supplied at no extra cost  Wink

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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    From memory it is less than 100mm. I remember an architect having a real rant because a building inspector was refusing to pass another job he was involved with because the stairs had been built with the spindles having perfect 100mm gaps, as per his drawings, but the inspector was insisting that they had to be less than 100mm.

    This conversation was about 10 years ago though so I might be wrong and was only told to cheer me up over an inspector being pedantic with me over a completely different issue.

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