Thousands of amateur landlords are failing tenants by ignoring their legal obligations to keep buy to let homes safe, claims a leading insurance firm. The research focused on accidental landlords – property owners who moved on and rented out their former home because they were unable to sell. The study by buy to let insurer Axa revealed:
- Two thirds of accidental landlords fail to have boilers serviced each year, while nearly a quarter carry out checks every three years or more.
The law requires gas boilers to be serviced once every 12 months by a Gas Safe engineer and for a safety certificate to be issued for a the home. Around 50 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty gas appliances each year, according to the Health and Safety Executive.
- Just over a third of accidental landlords have chimneys swept every three years.
Advice from the National Association of Chimney Sweeps suggests an annual check for homes with smokeless fuel, gas or oil chimneys and flues to prevent chimney fires. According to the Communities and Local Government Department, around 6,000 homes a year suffer damage from chimney fires The research also accuses landlords of putting tenant lives at risk by flouting electrical safety rules by not calling in electricians often enough. The Electrical Safety Council reckons one person dies each week from an electrical accident. The firm also suggests fire alarms are not tested regularly to make sure they are in working order. Darrell Sansom, managing director of AXA Business Insurance said: “Accidental landlords are, as the name suggests, people who never really intended to take on a rental property. And it seems that many are not really aware of the responsibilities that come with the role, leaving themselves and their tenants extremely vulnerable. Things like gas and electrics are potential killers and need to be taken seriously.” The study also highlighted many accidental landlords believed their properties were protected by continuing their standard home polices once tenants moved in. Axa explained that insurers would consider the policies void in the event of a claim and that landlords need to take out specialist buy to let insurance.
Read more about accidental landlords here