Leasehold handbook – Health and safety

by The Gateshead Housing Company & filed under Owning your home - leaseholder - leasehold handbook, Owning your home - leaseholders.

Gas safety

You must have your gas appliances serviced every year and send us a copy of the certificate.

Dependent on your lease, failure to supply a certificate can result in TGHC gaining entry to your property, carrying out the service and billing you the cost.

TGHC offers a gas servicing scheme for leaseholders, at a competitive rate. If you wish to join the scheme, please complete the Gas Servicing Application Form. Your appliances will be assessed before you can join the scheme.

Fire risk assessment

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is the relevant law. The regulations apply to the common parts of a building containing a leasehold flat, but not the part occupied as a private home, such as the flat itself.

The housing company takes all reasonable fire precautions to make sure the building is safe. The fire risk assessment evaluates the risk to people from fire, taking into account existing fire safety measures. From this information, it decides whether additional measures are necessary.

The fire safety assessment must be reviewed regularly to keep it up to date.

Where costs are involved (for example replacement of communal doors, fire extinguishers, means of escape etc) how these are recovered will depend on the service charge provisions in your lease.

Under section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, we must consult with you if the works cost more than £250.00 for any one leaseholder.

You must make yourself aware of possible fire hazards around the home and take steps to protect yourself, your family and neighbours.

Smoke alarms should be fitted to give vital extra time to escape.

To reduce the risk in the home you should:

  • Never keep petrol or paraffin in your home
  • Not use paraffin or bottled gas heaters
  • Take extra care with hot oil and never leave chip pans unattended on the stove or pour water onto a burning chip pan
  • Never leave children alone in the kitchen when cooking and keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach
  • Make sure candles are in secure holders, never leave them unattended, and keep away from curtains and fabrics
  • Not overload electrical sockets
  • Put out cigarettes and matches and take care with ashtrays
  • Put a fireguard around fires
  • Not hang clothes around fires, cookers or storage heaters
  • Plan an escape route
  • Never use a lift if there is a fire. Always use the stairs
  • Never tackle a fire – call 999

Asbestos

TGHC has a legal duty to ‘manage’ asbestos in the common areas of the building. This applies to common areas such as foyers, corridors, staircases, lifts.

Our duty is to find out whether the building contains asbestos, and if so where it is and what condition it is in. We must assess the risk and make a plan to manage it and act on it.

Recovery of the cost of the survey and necessary work resulting from this is based on the clauses in your lease.

It is a good idea to have these checks done, as a future buyer’s solicitor will ask for confirmation and evidence that risk assessments for fire safety and asbestos have been done. It may cause a problem with a sale if these are not available.

You are responsible for asbestos in your home. Guidance on how to deal with asbestos can be found in Asbestos guide.

Electrical safety

Every electrical installation deteriorates with use and age. We make a safety inspection of the electrics in common areas of the building at least every five years.

Leaseholders are not required by law to conduct a similar regular electrical test in their own home. However, it is often required as part of the buying or selling process, so we recommend having one done every ten years.

If you sub-let your property, as a landlord, you must have the electrics in the flat tested every five years.

If you have had any alteration or additions made to the electrics in your home since 2005, the alterations must meet the requirements of ‘Part P’ of the Building Regulations, whether the work was completed professionally or by you. You must ensure you are satisfied that this requirement has been met.

Condensation and damp

You are responsible for managing condensation within your home.

Condensation is caused by moisture from inside the home meeting colder surfaces. This results in moisture cooling on the surface and turning to water droplets. These can then soak into décor and attract mould.

Condensation can affect both external and internal walls and ceilings. Black spot mould growth is the most common indication of condensation. Most homes will be affected by condensation at some point. Condensation is often due to the lifestyle of the person(s) living in the property. 

Dampness and mould growth guide

If you think dampness is being caused to your property and it is the housing company’s responsibility to maintain, please report this using the online form Report damp and mould.

Leasehold handbook sections: