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Housing Crisis

Thousands of landlords are failing to address household hazards

From a lack of smoke alarm to unsafe stairs, one study has revealed the buy-to-let death traps on our doorstep

Thousands of landlords are failing to address household hazards, according to VeriSmart.

The lettings inventory and property compliance specialists conducted over 60,000 property inspections and reports on rental properties within the buy-to-let sector, and found that 4,521 of these had at least one Housing Health & Safety Rating Assessment (HHSRS) per inspection.

The following common issues were the most prevalent:

Smoke detectors: Worryingly, 40% of all issues flagged either a missing or non-functional smoke detector.
Stairs: 26% of assessments noted a danger of falling on stairs and between or on separate levels of a house.
Electrical issues: Electrical issues accounted for 11% of all hazards flagged during health and safety assessments.
Carbon monoxide: 7% of assessments found a lack of a working carbon monoxide detector.
Damp and Mould: Damp and mould were flagged as a risk in 4% of properties.
Water: Uncovered ponds or swimming pools posed a hazard in 2% of all properties.
Structural integrity: The threat of structural collapse or falling elements was a problem in 2% of all properties.

Fire hazards (1%), excess cold (0.6%) and domestic hygiene (0.6%) were also an issue in a small proportion of properties.

Founder of VeriSmart, Jonathan Senior, said: “While many landlords are providing up to scratch accommodation, 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.

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“With the introduction of the Fitness for Human Habitation Act in place since the 20th March 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.

“It is therefore more vital than ever that landlords ensure their properties meet the required minimum health and safety standards.”

Source: Christina Hoghton

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