The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulation 2002 (CAWR) - the law does place specific duties on a landlord in respect of asbestos in their property, The Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990 defines statutory nuisance as "any dust...likely to cause injury...to the public".
Decent Home Standards
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Section 4 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 places a duty of care on the landlord in relation to any person who might be affected by a defect, ‘to take such care as is reasonable in all the circumstances to see that they are reasonably safe from personal injury and from damage to their property caused by a relevant defect’ the premises includes the whole of the letting - i.e. including gardens, patios, walls, etc - and can be applied to the communal areas of estates, including lifts, rubbish chutes, stairs and corridors.
Since 6th April 2007, when a Landlord or Letting Agent issues a new or renews an Assured Shorthold Tenancy where a deposit is involved, such deposit must be protected by a government approved scheme.
There are legal obligations on Landlords to take reasonable steps to ensure that people are not discriminated against directly or indirectly due to their race, colour, gender or disability. The specific legislation is as follows:
• Sex Discrimination Act 1975
• Race Relations Act 1976
• Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
There are a number of regulations governing electrical safety and these include: Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, Consumer Protection Act 1987, Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and Building Regulations 2000. Essentially the landlord must ensure that the fixed installation and all electrical appliances supplied by the landlord are safe.
Electrical - Buiding Regs Part B
The design, installation, inspection and testing of electrical installations is controlled under Part P of the Building Regulations which applies to houses and flats and includes gardens and outbuildings such as sheds, garages and greenhouses.
From the 1st October 2008 - Landlords are now legally required to show prospective tenants the Energy Performance Certificates prior to letting the property. This does not apply to current rentals.
The landlord must ensure that there is adequate means of escape in the event of a fire (making sure the tenant has all the keys to the property and that windows open and close easily). The benefits of smoke detectors cannot be emphasised enough and for an HMO they must be interlinked mains-powered.
General Product Safety
The General Product Safety Regulations provide that anything supplied to a consumer in the course of commercial activities must be safe. These Regulations apply where the 'product' in question does not fall into any other category such as furniture, electrical, gas, etc. It covers general problems in properties such as missing rungs in ladders.
HHSRS & Health and Safety
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is the method used by local authorities to assess housing conditions. Part 1of the Housing Act 2004 establishes the HHSRS as the current statutory assessment criterion for housing and it is based on the principle that: “Any residential premises should provide a safe and healthy environment for any potential occupier or visitor.”
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The property must be in a reasonable state of repair both internally and externally, and fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy. There should be no dampness either in the form of rising damp, penetration from the outside or condensation. Statutory and Common Law requires that there should be no unacceptable level of risk to the health or safety of the occupiers or their visitors.