In my last blog, I talked about house and home security, particularly in the dark winter months and the run up to Christmas. But locks and alarms aren’t the only thing you need to be focused on if you want to make sure your property (whether it’s your home or an investment property) is safe. In fact, there are a number of checks you must carry out when you buy a property that could just save a life, let alone your hard-earned money!
The hidden and serious dangers in your property
Before you assume I’m being over dramatic, consider the following statistics. A recent survey by CORGI HomePlan found that only 10% of people buying a property think that they should carry out various checks. Those checks include checking the boiler, gas appliances, radiators, fires and cookers.
Carbon monoxide is a very real danger
What’s really worrying about that is that according to statistics from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in 2013, carbon monoxide poisoning resulted in about 40 deaths and 200 hospitalisations in the UK. While other research indicates that there are about 4,000 A & E attendances for treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning each year some of which can lead to life changing neurological issues. And that’s before we look at the risk of fire!
Government statistics reveal that in the year 2014/15 there were 31,300 “dwelling” fires, a shocking 50% of which were caused by cooking appliances and 30% of which were in properties with no fire alarm.
In 2015 200 people died in house fires and faulty electrics cause about 6,000 fires each year. They’re sobering statistics.
What you need to do
1. Before you purchase a property, ask for the service record for all gas appliances including boilers, central heating, fires, cookers and portable heaters. If you’re letting the property you have a legal responsibility to ensure all appliances have been checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer and the requirement is that these checks are carried out yearly.
2. Fit a good quality fire alarm and check that it works monthly. Look for alarms that have a quality mark and make sure you put them in a hallway (not the kitchen).
If you’re a landlord, you must fit at least one smoke alarm on each floor of the properties you rent out. You must also fit a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel burner.
3. Check other appliances such as cookers and do not plug too many items into one socket. There should be one plug per socket especially for larger items. Beware of leaving phones and tablets charging all night and be vigilant for broken, damaged or hot plugs and wires. Be super careful of fairy lights!
Finally, get into the habit of checking that your appliances are switched off and unplugged and close doors each night before you go to bed. Most fires start at night.
All this might not seem a very seasonal message but with lots of electrical gifts, entertaining and dozens of fairly lights inside your home, the risk of a fire is heightened at this time of year. Be safe and make sure you enjoy the festivities!
If you’d like more information about your health and safety responsibilities as a landlord, please get in touch.
Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking
and he’s also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.
Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking
are a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.
Enquiries to 01306 406 506 / 01372 701 702, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org