On Friday, we were delighted to see the announcement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government that it is going to carry out what it describes as a “wide-ranging review” of health & safety in the private rented sector. Local councils can already take action against landlords that don’t keep their rental properties up to scratch but the rules haven’t been updated for over a decade and, in our view, closer scrutiny of rented homes is overdue. Poorly maintained and unsafe properties are not the norm – and we pride ourselves at Ringley that all our tenants can be safe in the knowledge that their homes meet all current health & safety regulations. However, as the government said last week, a minority of landlords are renting out unsafe, sub-standard accommodation and this has to stop. To misquote the old saying, a few bad apples give all of us a bad name so we hope this review will help tackle the problems faced by tenants who find themselves living in poor quality housing. If we end up with minimum standards for common health and safety problems in rental accommodation, then three cheers for that! The other important issue being considered is whether all landlords should be obliged to fit carbon monoxide alarms in their properties. At the moment alarms are only required in homes with solid fuel appliances such as log burners – which are notorious for the potential to build-up carbon monoxide. In the UK, carbon monoxide poisoning in the home accounts for 50 recorded deaths per year, and as many as 4,000 medical visits, according to the Department of Health, with almost 1% of households exposed to high carbon monoxide levels each year. This is roughly quarter of a million homes - and that's 250,000 too many. This gas is a silent killer, with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning ranging from headaches, dizziness, weakness, upset stomachs, nausea, chest pains, and in extreme cases, loss of consciousness and even death. A blanket requirement to fit alarms across the board really could save lives. In the meantime, we would advise all our tenants to invest in a carbon monoxide alarm. They are not expensive and you can buy one almost anywhere from Argos to Amazon. Why run the risk?
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