Health and safety in rented accommodation

Landlords are responsible for property maintenance and major repairs in rented accommodation. This includes repairs to the structure and exterior, to heating and hot water systems, basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary ware.

Housing standards

The landlord is responsible for ensuring any property they let to tenants meets the fitness standard. The landlord should check the property:

  • can provide adequate heating,  ideally a controllable central heating system and insulation, with equipment and the fabric of the building in good repair
  • has electricity and gas supplies, and the sanitation (drains, basins, sinks, baths and WCs) in working order
  • has no fall or trip hazards
  • has water heating equipment in working order
  • is free from damp

Gas safety

The landlord is responsible for gas and electrical safety. They must: 

  • maintain all gas appliances and fittings in good working order
  • arrange an annual safety check for all gas boilers  and only use someone who is registered with the Gas Safe Register
  • keep a record of the safety checks and issue the record to their tenant within 28 days of each annual check

The tenant is responsible for maintaining gas appliances which they own, or are entitled to take with them at the end of the tenancy.

Electrical safety

In rented accommodation, the electrical system and any electrical appliances must be safe to use. By law, the landlord is responsible for safety of:

  • the electrical system
  • cookers, kettles, toasters, washing machines, immersion heaters and any other electrical appliances supplied with the tenancy

If the landlord supplies new appliances, they should also provide any instruction booklets.

The electricity supplier can switch off the power supply to your home if they're concerned about electrical safety in your home.

Carbon monoxide (CO)

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas which is difficult to detect. It is formed when domestic fuels such as gas, coal or wood are burned and can cause serious brain injuries or even death.

The landlord should ensure all fuel burning appliances are installed  in well-ventilated rooms and regularly maintained by a suitably qualified engineer.

They should also fit a suitable CO alarm in the house. 

Fire prevention

You should take measures to prevent a fire in your home:

  • fit a smoke alarm and check the batteries regularly
  • take care when cooking with hot oil
  • be careful with cigarettes and candles
  • close inside doors at night
  • switch off electrical appliances when not in use
  • Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) provides a free Home Fire Safety Check
  • Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service
  • Fire prevention

House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

If the Housing Executive considers the property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and subject to licensing, the landlord is responsible for fire safety. The property must have

  • an adequate means of escape depending on the size of the property
  • smoke alarms and fire extinguishing equipment

By law, the landlord must:

  • make sure that all the gas appliances they provide are maintained in good order and that a Gas Safe-registered plumber carries out a safety check each year
  • maintain all electrical installations and any electrical appliances they provide such as cookers, kettles and toasters and make sure they are safe to use
  • make sure any furniture and furnishings they provide meet the fire resistance regulations

If the HMO you live in isn't up to standard, you can complain to  the Housing Executive in your area. 

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