Burning Down The House: Safety Requirements for Landlords

As a landlord, you have certain safety requirements that must be implemented, because accidently killing your tenants is frowned upon by Her Majesty’s Crown Services.

It also tends to mitigate those pesky little developments like your property blowing up or burning down; if your insurance finds out that you haven’t maintained these areas up to code, you could have a lot of trouble collecting a payout.

There are three key areas you need to be aware of: fire, gas and electrical.

You are also required to provide an EPC (energy performance certificate) to tenants when they move in, with a minimum rating of E considered legal for habitation. The maximum rating is A.

Feel free to use this as a handy checklist.


In order to be compliant with fire regulations, you must do the following:

  • Provide and test smoke detector on each floor
  • Provide and test carbon monoxide detector in any room with an appliance burning solid fuel. This includes wood burning stoves and fireplaces
  • Check escape routes are always accessible
  • Any furniture and furnishings including the carpet and curtains supplied with property are fire safe (check for label of compliance with fire regulations)
  • Provide fire extinguishers and alarms if house is considered a house in multiple occupation (HMO), with at least 3 storeys and a minimum of 5 tenants

A house fire is one of the most terrifying things because it spreads incredibly fast. Make sure your tenants know how to evacuate if the worst happens, and how to do it safely.

It’s a good idea for everybody, whether they own or rent to run regular fire drills and have an escape plan.


In order to be compliant with electrical regulations, you must do the following:

  • All sockets, light fittings and supplied appliances are safe
  • Visually inspect electrical system between tenants
  • Portable appliance tests done annually for supplied movable appliances
  • Ensure adequate RCD (residual current device), probably at fuse box
  • Professional inspection to be done every 5 years (legal requirement if HMO)
  • Only use registered electricians* for work done at your properties

*Electricity is probably one of the most dangerous things we use casually as a society. If you aren’t qualified as an electrician, you need to let the professionals do the work, because it will be very hard to collect your rents if you’ve crispy crittered yourself fiddling with wires.

Poorly maintained electrics can lead to house fires, which isn’t good for anybody. If your plug sockets are buzzing, even if you can’t see visible damage, it’s time to get an electrician in.


In order to be compliant with gas regulations, you must do the following:

  • Annual check of gas appliance and flues by Gas Safe* registered engineer
  • Copy of gas safety check record given to tenants within 30 days, as well as new tenants when they move into the property
  • Only use Gas Safe registered engineer for work done at your properties

*An engineer must be registered with Gas Safe otherwise the odds are high they are working illegally. Approximately two thirds of illegal work inspected by Gas Safe was found to be unsafe, and an illegal worker can render your boiler warranty and your home insurance invalid.

A gas leak can spread highly flammable gas throughout a house in minutes. The first danger from a natural gas leak - which most UK homes have for heating if nothing else - is carbon monoxide poisoning.

In the UK, that smell you get from gas is added since natural gas has no odour. The problem is that by the time someone smells it, sometimes it’s already spread throughout the property.

The other big problem with gas is that it explodes with very little encouragement; something as simple as the spark from a light being switched on, or a phone call being made can and has caused lethal explosions in the past.

If you smell gas in a property, you need to act quickly. Open all doors and windows for ventilation, extinguish all naked flames and for the love of sanity don’t smoke.

Don’t operate any electrical switches, and turn off the gas emergency control valve unless it’s in a basement or cellar; or next to the storage tank or vessels if the property is supplied with LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas).

Get everyone outside as a priority.

There is a National Gas Emergency number to call, depending on your area. Make this call from outside the property, because blowing yourself up at this point would be embarrassing to explain in the afterlife.

For England, Wales, and Scotland, the number is 0800 111 999. Northern Ireland is 0800 002 001. The Isle of Man decided to get a touch more complicated: 0808 1624 444.

And finally - don't forget your landlord insurance

Don’t forget to check your landlord insurance policy to make sure your rented properties are properly covered and for the correct sums insured.

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