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Smoke alarms are top health and safety issue not addressed by landlords

Missing and broken smoke detector are the top health and safety issue that landlords in Britain are failing to address, according to new research into the most common hazards being missed within their rental properties.

In research carried out by combined lettings inventory and property compliance specialists VeriSmart during 60,000 property inspections in the private rented sector found that 40% of all health and safety assessments flagged either a missing or non-functional smoke detector.

The study also found that 26% of assessments noted a danger of falling on stairs, between or on separate levels of a house while electrical issues accounted for 11% of all hazards flagged during health and safety assessments.

Some 7% of assessments found a lack of a working carbon monoxide detector, damp and mould were flagged as a risk in 4% of properties and uncovered ponds or swimming pools posed a hazard in 2% of all properties.

It also shows that the threat of structural collapse or falling elements was an issue in 2% of all properties while fire hazards were just 1%, excess cold 0.6% and domestic hygiene also 0.6%.

‘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,’ said Jonathan Senior, founder of VeriSmart, Jonathan Senior.

‘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,’ he explained.

He pointed out that 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,’ he added.