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'Worrying' percentage of rental home hazards due to missing smoke alarms

PUBLISHED: 07:30 07 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:03 07 May 2019

Four in 10 rental properties found to contain potential safety hazards were lacking a functional smoke detector  Picture: GETTY/ISTOCKPHOTO

Four in 10 rental properties found to contain potential safety hazards were lacking a functional smoke detector Picture: GETTY/ISTOCKPHOTO


Missing or defective smoke detectors account for almost half of potential hazards in rental homes across the region, according to research.

The lack of a functioning smoke detector was the most common risk uncovered during inspections of buy-to-lets in East Anglia since last May, the research showed.

Data compiled from 60,000 health and safety checks carried out across the UK revealed 40% of 'flagged' homes (41.1% in East Anglia) lacked a working device.

In this region, 23.3% of hazards involved a danger of falling on stairs or between levels, compared to 26% nationally.

More than one in eight (13.3%) were due to the lack of a functional carbon monoxide detector, while others presented electric issues (5.9%), damp and mould issues (5.7%), or structural collapse and falling elements (3.1%)

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While the majority of rental properties were up to scratch, thousands of UK homes failed inspections due to some of the most serious household hazards, according to combined inventory and property compliance specialist, VeriSmart.

More than 4,500 properties contained at least one Housing Health and Safety Rating Assessment (HHSRS) per inspection.

Fire hazards (0.6%), excess cold (0.3%) and domestic hygiene (0.2%) were also an issue in a small proportion of properties in East Anglia.

VeriSmart founder, 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 there is no excuse to have them present in a rental property.

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

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