A compliance company has accused “thousands” of buy to let investors of failing to address major household hazards which render properties dangerous.
In the past 12 months VeriSmart has conducted over 60,000 property inspections and reports on rental properties with 4,521 resulting in at least one Housing Health & Safety Rating Assessment (HHSRS) per inspection - some involved three or more.
It says the most common problems were:
Smoke detectors: some 40 per cent of all health and safety assessments flagged either a missing or non-functional smoke detector;
Stairs: 26 per cent of assessments noted a danger of falling on stairs and between or on separate levels of a house;
Electrical issues: these accounted for 11 per cent of all hazards flagged during health and safety assessments;
Carbon monoxide: seven per cent of assessments found a lack of a working carbon monoxide detector;
Damp and mould: these were flagged as a risk in four per cent of properties.
Structural integrity: Threat of structural collapse or falling elements was also an issue in two per cent of all properties.
Other problems included fire hazards, excess cold, and issues related to domestic hygiene.
“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” says VeriSmart founder Jonathan Senior.
“Since the introduction of the Fitness for Human Habitation Act in place since March 20 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” he adds.