When becoming a landlord, managing risk and health and safety in the residential properties you own is a crucial part of the job. Tenants put a lot of trust in landlords when moving into rental properties, with the trust that the building has been well maintained and risk assessed to ensure it is safe to live in. Landlords have over 145 laws and 400 regulations that they have to follow in order to safely let, and providing a safe and stable building is part of this. In order to maintain regulations and keep on top of your residential property safety, we have pulled together some of the key guidance to help you in your efforts to manage risk in your rental properties.
Ensure You Have The Right Insurance
Having the right insurance policy is a crucial part of maintaining a safe and secure rental property. Managing risk is crucial, but having the right insurance in place can help to protect you and your tenants against accidents, injury and damage. The right Landlord Buildings Cover will protect you and your property against storm damage, fire, floods, malicious damage, riots, explosions and more. Insurance provides financial support for repairs, compensation and more when these situations arise, which can not only protect you as a landlord but provide you with the financial protection you need to help rebuild any damage to provide a safe and comfortable environment for your tenants once again. Additional policies, such as contents cover, will also protect your tenants’ property or furnishings, as well as any furnishings or appliances that you have provided to tenants before they moved in.
Run Situation Risk Assessments
One of the biggest struggles of managing risks is being prepared for every eventuality and situation that you could run into. Thankfully, there are guidelines to help you run full and comprehensive risk assessments. Some of the situations you should consider include:
- Fire – you should assess the risk of a fire occurring, the risk to people and the property in the event of a fire, and the removal of any fire hazards. You should also provide protective measures such as regulation-approved alarms, escape routes, emergency lighting, signs and ongoing maintenance.
- Explosions – You should assess the presence or risk of dangerous substances causing fires or explosions. These can include methane, petrol, diesel, hydrogen, LPG, ammonia, chemicals and more. You should assess potential ignition sources including naked flames, hot surfaces, self-heating products, friction-generated heating or sparks and more.
- Asbestos – Asbestos can be harmful to tenants and should be tested for before they move into the property, and relatively regularly following move-in. Tenants should be given appropriate alternative accommodation in cases where asbestos is present, and professional removal should be undertaken.
- Legionella – Legionella testing should be conducted in cases where water systems are present that incorporate into a cooling tower, evaporative condenser, or where hot and cold water systems are present. You should also ensure that assessments are completed regarding the likelihood of legionella developing.
- Radon – Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that can move through buildings through cracks and fissures. You should assess any rooms below-ground for radon, as well as any above-ground level spaces if radon is present in below-ground spaces.
- Noise – Noise assessments can be done not only for any noise getting into the property, but also for any noise within, or that will move out of the property. You should assess the potential for noise exposure and provide solutions as standard if the average daily noise level is deemed too loud. For example, houses by airports may require additional noise protection for tenant comfort.
- Vibration – Being able to assess the effects of vibration on a property is crucial for assessing the building’s longevity. Vibration may occur as a result of nearby mining, traffic, machinery, civil engineering work and more. You should assess the potential effects by sourcing any causes of vibration, and ensuring that regular property assessments are made to ensure safety.
- Flooding – Flooding isn’t always avoidable, but risk assessments can help to reduce risk and improve safety in the property. You should assess guttering, surface water run-off, risk of natural flooding, groundwater rising into buildings, infrastructure quality (e.g. water pipes) and sewage systems.
- Environment – You should assess the environment within and around the property for risks, including chemicals, fumes, dust, vapours, mists, gases and biological agents, and provide solutions if any of the above prove to be a risk.
- Building Safety – Regular checks for the building should be conducted to insure structural integrity. The quality of supports, brickwork, roofing, flooring, plaster and more should be regularly checked to ensure optimal safety for tenants.
- Security – You should assess the security of doors, windows and any other potential entry points into the property. This includes windows on above-ground-level floors, roofs and outside gates and entryways.
Keep In Contact With Tenants
One of the easiest and often most effective ways to manage risk within a property is to maintain contact with the tenants. Tenants are often the first to notice problems within the property, not least because they live there and are likely to spend most of their time within its walls. They can spot issues faster than an inspection can, and can often help you to find and repair any potential problems before they can become costly.
As a landlord, you are responsible for a number of repairs and maintenance, and tenants can often be helpful in keeping on top of it all. If you’re looking for insurance to protect you and your tenants in the event of an accident, we are on hand to help. Simply get in touch with Ashburnham Insurance for more information.