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Private rented accommodation safety

Healthy homes

Landlords have a duty of care to make their properties suitable and safe.

A Healthy Home will:

  • be wind and weather tight and in good general condition
  • be free from infestation by rodents and insects
  • be free from large amounts of rubbish and have adequate waste storage
  • have an affordable controllable heating system that can maintain a healthy temperature
  • be well-insulated and draft proof
  • have an EPC rating of at least an E
  • be free from damp, mould and excessive condensation
  • not have risks of trips or falls
  • have controllable and secure ventilation
  • have gas appliances that are safe and in good working order (if fitted)
  • have appropriately installed electrical installations and appliances that are maintained in a safe condition.
  • have Carbon monoxide detectors where there are gas appliances or open fires
  • have an appropriate level of fire protection
  • have a reasonable level of security
  • have adequate natural and artificial lighting
  • not present risks due to poor layout or rooms that are too small for the proposed use
  • have a kitchen that is in good order and readily cleansable
  • contain an adequate number of suitably located toilets, baths and/or showers and washbasin
  • have procedures in place to report and resolve anti-social behaviour where there are a number of flats and in houses in multiple occupancy

Visit the Plymouth Energy Community website for advice and information on healthy homes. Watch the video on how to prevent damp and mould.

Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) have a risk assessment system which deals with 29 hazards relating to:

  • dampness, excess cold/heat
  • pollutants for example asbestos, carbon monoxide, lead
  • lack of space, security or lighting, or excessive noise
  • poor hygiene, sanitation, water supply
  • accidents, falls, electric shocks, fires, burns, scalds
  • collisions, explosions, structural collapse

Each hazard is assessed separately and if considered 'serious' identified as a category 1 hazard. All other hazards are called category 2 hazards. We've a duty to act on all category 1 hazards. This may involve the owner removing or reducing the risk or in some cases restricting occupancy or even demolition.

Landlords must make their properties suitable and safe for occupation. Fire, gas and electrical regulations must be followed.

Fire safety

Landlords must provide:

  • a safe means of escape from fire (usually a main stairwell, which should be kept free of flammable materials and obstructions)
  • safe electrical wiring with sufficient sockets to prevent overloading
  • safe kitchens with cookers properly sited
  • adequate heating to minimise the use of portable heaters
  • furniture that complies with current fire safety standards

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Regulations require that all rented property must have:

  • a working smoke detector on each level of the property, and
  • a carbon monoxide detector wherever there is a fixed combustion appliance (e.g. gas boiler, wood burner), other than a gas cooker

Normally this can be met by installing a stand-alone battery smoke detector, however a higher level of protection may be needed in some properties (for example houses in multiple occupation). GOV.UK has further advice and guidance on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for landlords.

The fine for failing to comply with these regulations is £5,000. See our statement of principles in relation to enforcement of these regulations:

Fire safety standards

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has published the fire safety book 'LACORS Housing - Fire Safety Guidance' which describes the standards of fire safety which may be required in a range of housing situations, including single family houses, self-contained flats and HMOs. It also provides guidance on carrying out risk assessments.

GOV.UK has further advice and guidance on fire safety law and for businesses.

Regulations that apply:

Gas safety

Landlords must check gas fittings and systems every 12 months and give tenants a copy of the safety certificate.

Landlords must make sure that the fittings and system are maintained in a safe condition using a Gas Safe registered fitter.

The Gas Safe Register website has advice and information for landlords and tenants.

Within an HMO the manager must:

  • supply to the local housing authority the latest gas appliance test certificate it has received in relation to the testing of any gas appliance at the HMO by a recognised engineer within 7 days of receiving a request in writing from that authority.
  • not unreasonably cause the gas supply that is used by any occupier within the HMO to be interrupted.

Failure to do so is an offence for which the manager many be prosecuted or fined.

Find an engineer on the Gas Safe Register

To report someone working illegally call 0800 408 5500.

Further advice and information:

Electrical safety

Landlords must make sure the electrical wiring in the property is safe

Any electrical works must be carried out by a registered electrician.

The Electrical Safety First website has advice and information for landlords and tenants.

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 are designed to ensure electrical safety within the private rented sector in England. They place a number of duties upon a landlord.

Landlords of privately rented accommodation must:

  • ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671
  • ensure the electrical installations in their rented properties are inspected and tested by a qualified and competent person at least every five years
  • obtain a report from the person conducting the inspection and test which gives the results and sets a date for the next inspection and test
  • supply a copy of this report to the existing tenant within 28 days of the inspection and test
  • supply a copy of this report to a new tenant before they occupy the premises
  • supply a copy of this report to any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request for the report
  • supply the local authority with a copy of this report within seven days of receiving a request for a copy
  • retain a copy of the report to give to the inspector and tester who will undertake the next inspection and test
  • where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report
  • supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works together with the inital report that required further investigative or remedial works within 28 days to:

The regulations apply where a tenancy has been created since 1 June 2020 and to all existing tenancies from 1 April 2021.

Any portable electrical appliances which are owned by the landlord should be checked for safety annually.


The local authority may:

  • require the provision of information
  • require a landlord to undertake testing/remedial works
  • arrange remedial works, including urgent remedial works and recover their expenses
  • issue a fine up to £30,000 where the duties are not met.

Our Electrical Safety Policy is available on our Policies page.

Find a registered electrician

Further advice and information

If you are looking for reliable and trustworthy local tradesmen to carry out work inside or outside a property, use the government-endorsed quality schemeTrustMark.

Find trusted tradespeople on TrustMark.